Skipping the Ceremony

Why I Didn’t Attend My High School Graduation

June brings many different events … my birthday (yep!), my wedding anniversary, the beginning of summer. It also brings graduation season. June is often filled with graduation parties and teenagers celebrating the walk across the stage accepting their diploma.

I never walked across that stage.

Eighteen years ago I graduated from high school. Yes, while I didn’t walk across the stage, I actually did graduate. I chose not to attend my graduation ceremony, and I’ve never regretted the decision.did graduate. I chose not to attend my graduation ceremony, and I’ve never regretted the decision.

So many people loved high school. The clubs, the cliques, the parties, and sports programs were a huge part of their lives and when it came time to graduate, they were happy to be moving onto college but sad to be leaving it all behind. Not me. I couldn’t have been happier.

I can give you the big sob story about how I didn’t fit in. I can give you all the feels when I describe kids spitting on me and making fun of me to the point I locked myself in the bathroom for entire class periods at a time. Maybe you’d be interested in all the times I was almost left without a partner in activities that required them because no one wanted to be mine?

I can. But I won’t.

Look, I didn’t fit in. I was (and still am) weird, I tried way too hard to fit in, which completely backfired. I tried so hard, in fact, I know I gave people just as weird as me a hard time, hoping those that called me names would stop if I joined in calling other people names. I’m not proud of that. At all.

High school is hard. Hell, grade school was even harder. I’ll never forget when I told a close friend I started wearing a bra and that day I was teased relentlessly about my 18-hour bra. Or when I thought the most popular girl in school wanted to be friends and I wrote her letters, only to have the entire class read them.

People suck. And I didn’t want any part of it.

When it came to my senior year, I was different than I was the other years. When I entered high school. I left eighth grade scared out of my mind to go into that huge building. The first day of school, my best friend Carrie was going to walk in with me, but the bus missed her stop and I had to go alone. I survived. I managed to make it through my classes. My freshman through junior year, I managed to find friends. They weren’t a crowd I would choose today, but I called them my friends. I became the company I kept and my grades went from top notch to some B’s, but mostly C’s and D’s, and I even failed a class. I didn’t participate in any of the “activities” they did, and I’m glad I didn’t choose that path.

The summer before my senior year, I met the man I now call my husband. I focused on school, and him. We attended different schools so I didn’t see him during the day. I stopped hanging out with the crowd I had been and attached myself to some of the grade school people who always were nice to everyone. I ate lunch with Dawn, Nicole, Tina, Sarah, and David. The nice ones. The ones to this day, I think about often and thank them for always being such wonderful people. My grades skyrocketed, and I finished off high school with the best GPA of all the years. I recall an incident when someone wanted to copy my homework. I said loud enough for my teacher to hear, “No, I won’t let you copy my work. I work hard to get my As’.” This person came back with “You think you’re so great because you do your homework.” Well, yeah. She was my friend. Not after that day.

Then came graduation. Did I want to attend? Did I want to walk across the stage proud of the four years I spent here? No. Not one bit. While I considered the five mentioned before friends, and I actually became friendly with some other people, I didn’t have any real friends. I didn’t have anyone I would hang out with after high school (or so I thought. I did end up close with Sarah, but our friendship is destroyed, as noted in other blog posts). I kept imagining myself at the ceremony with no one to talk to. I pictured sitting in my seat, alone, and only my parents and boyfriend to cheer me on when I walked across the stage. No one would hoot and holler for me. No one would whistle.

Besides the fact I felt alone, I also was scared. I’m a worrywart by nature, and I freaked out I would do it wrong. I would start to walk across the stage too early, or grab the diploma with the wrong hand, or fall off the stage. These fears paralyzed me. To this day, I still think about these types of things. Any events or organized activities scare me in case I mess something up.

Then the weirdest part – my school choose to vote on what colors to wear for our cap and gown. We weren’t even wearing OUR OWN SCHOOL COLORS! That, to me, doesn’t yell school pride. Do I want to be part of a ceremony my own school doesn’t even seem proud of?

I spoke with my parents about it, and they were fine with whatever decision I made. I finished high school, as I should have and they were proud of me whether or not I walked.

I decided. I didn’t want to be a part of it. And I can honestly say, I don’t think anyone noticed or missed me. Ask anyone I went to high school with today and they wouldn’t recall my absence.

I really loved my school and my teachers. That’s about it. I stand by my decision skipping out on graduation day, but for those who are attending theirs, I wish them the best of luck, and congratulations!