I had never been to a graduation before because here in the UK, such things are not as common as they are in the States. I had no idea what to expect, various American people had told me about their graduations so I was at least just a little prepared for what was ahead.
The whole Graduation weekend started on a formal note with a Church service in the college chapel. The place was heaving with proud parents and fresh faced graduates wearing the black graduation gowns. Being such an almost exclusively family affair, I felt almost privileged to be there sitting next to Anne's grandfather and the rest of her family.
The next day saw the actual ceremony take place outside on the 'quad', a large area of grass in the middle of the Gordon College campus.
I had arrived a little late so I found myself on the very last row of seats in an area that the huge PA system was not able to penetrate. So while the hot sun quietly burned the back of my neck, I watched the graduation of lots of very small people in the distance while listening to the conversations taking place on the rows in front of me.
After everyone had gotten their diploma's (or whatever it is you get when you graduate?), there was a family scrum on the un chaired bit of the quad. Somehow we were all supposed to find our respective graduate and congratulate them in the time honored way (whatever that is?).
At this point I had two problems. I had to not only find Anne, but also her family and Karen who I had lost while I attempted to get a better angle of Anne's moment of educational glory. It took a while but eventually everyone met their black glad graduate and after some photographs and some more photographs people began to disappear to various restaurant in the region.
It was a very interesting experience. One which I have to say I was glad to be a part of for Anne. However, for the students I think graduation must be an odd time full of every kind of emotion imaginable. First you are happy to be graduating, then you have the whole thing about 'going out into the big wide world' and all the stress that can bring. There is also the stress of trying to organize your family while they flap around you in the ways only a family can flap. And finally there is the sadness of saying goodbye to so many people, many of whom you know that despite your best intentions, you may never see again.