I think if Dante were alive today his third circle of hell would be an endless graduation ceremony. There would be speaker after speaker trotted up to deliver an endless monologue of crappy metaphors for life. It would be conducted outside in the blazing heat and everyone would be wearing black polyester from head to toe.
Boy, do I love graduation.
For the students this is a big deal. I get that. When I was graduating from university it was a big deal to me too. And although I was massively hung over, sitting in the rain and listening to an interminably bad speech, it was still a good day. I got to make sarcastic comments the whole time (a la Mystery Science Theater 3000) and got to spend one last day with a lot of friends together before we dispersed.
As a grad student I was gone. By the time graduation rolled around I was already doing a postdoc in a different location and wasn't interested in going back to have someone place a hood on my head. Thanks, but send the diploma. The graduation novelty wears off pretty quickly.
These days I am "encouraged" to go to graduation at least once a year! We normally get a pass on the smaller winter graduation, but for the spring one we are actively "reminded" to be there. Last year I was traveling over the graduation weekend, but this year I didn't arrange my schedule well and I will be here to attend my first professorial graduation. Yay....
I understand how bad it would look if none of the faculty showed up and I will begrudgingly take my place in the procession, but I can't say I am looking forward to it. There will be students graduating who took my class (although a couple who expected to won't be, unfortunately), which will add some familiarity to the proceedings, but the undergrads who have worked in my lab and whom I have gotten to know better, still have more time here. To make thing more exciting, the President has added another half hour to the schedule this year. Thanks big guy!
I may have to employ some academic version of slipping a comic book into a text book. I wonder if the graduation handout will be thick enough to disguise a couple of articles I need to read. Will people wonder why I am so intent on examining the schedule of events and the list of graduates? Can I figure out how to put movies on my Iphone and arrange my goofy hat to hide the earpiece?
There has to be some way to make the graduation ceremony tolerable.