5 Stages of (Graduation) Grief

Tell me you did not go through this. Go on. I dare you.

See? You can’t. Let’s just say that when Jane Austen wrote arguably the most iconic opening line in the small-time novel entitled *Pride and Prejudice, she might have forgotten to mention that there is in fact more than one universal truth. Our childhood is spent daydreaming about senior school and the time when we finally never have to wear the most dreadful pieces of clothing that was ever created for mankind by mankind – our uniform. We are anxious to grow up because we can’t wait to experience the real world. Yet when the time comes, all the preparation amounts to nothing. It still took me by surprise.

1. Denial and Isolation

A day after graduation, one of my friends was bugging me about the photos. She was expecting me to post them in FB right away. After a few messages, I replied to her with:

I will post them when I feel like it.

I will post them when I am not busy.

I will post them when I want to.

What a way to start this blog. It’s like saying: Hi, I’m a cold-heartless-selfish b&tch, pleased to meet you random stranger who has chosen to read my blog for some odd suspicious reason. Oh don’t click the close button just yet; I didn’t mean to frighten you, we’re just starting to warm up. I shall warn you… I am a brutally honest person and if you are not comfortable with that, go ahead and click the button.

If in the slightest chance that you are still reading on, here’s the rest of what I have to say. Admittedly, it was a passive aggressive rant. I was busy – reminiscing and feeling nostalgic about the nine years of conformity (and stringent rules) at a co-ed Catholic school in the Philippines, a year of mini skirts, swearing and to-die-for pizza and poutine at a public school in Montreal and finally, my two years at an independent, non-sectarian true blue Aussie College complete with the cowboy felt hat to put the cherry on top (not kidding, that was part of our uniform!). As you may have noticed, I did not give any details about the last stage of my schooling life – probably because it’s too recent. There is much to reflect upon. But I didn’t want to think about it. So instead I opted to fix everything I can fix in my room. From a mountain of papers given by teachers who say they’re concerned about Mother Earth but kills trees like it’s what they do for a living (maybe that is what they do for a living), **never been opened school books, to clothes that I haven’t laid eyes on since the age of dinosaurs and the perfectly disorganised drawers, you name it.

I didn’t catch up with friends for a few days. I cleaned my blinds. I wiped off all the filthy dirty yucky goodness. And then I cried. All alone… memories seeped through and it hit me: It’s over. Melancholia became my frienemy. (Read: isolation)

Weeks after Valedictory Day, I received a letter from the College with this greeting:

Dear Students and Past Scholars

Wait, I am a student but who’s the past scholar? You talking to me?

Probably a typo. Why would they call me a past scholar?

Let me read that again.

Oh. Maybe I’ve graduated. Maybe.

Maybe someone is in denial.

2. Anger

What?! They deleted our school e-mail account? We haven’t even stepped foot to the hall for Valedictory dinner. Yes, you caught me. I was checking my already non-existent e-mail out of habit; it’s like the FB Syndrome (in which you refresh the button every hour or so but you know nothing is going to happen).

3. Bargaining

Schoolies week. Me being me, of course I did not waste my time, energy, money and resources to get drunk and party with a bunch of crazy random teenagers who paid thousands of dollars for their accommodation! Instead, I spent quality time bonding with my best friends. We went to the beach, had a pool party, house party, just chilled. That’s what I call living the good life! So where’s the bargaining bit? For that whole week, I must admit that I really needed to spend time with my school friends. It didn’t matter what we did, I just had to know that I wasn’t going to lose them after graduation. I bargained for more time. Some of my friends were going overseas for the holidays, one for a gap year, one moving to Brisbane and the rest, I just know I will miss sitting with every single morning tea and lunch time.

4. Depression

It’s sad that I won’t get to see my friends and all those familiar faces anymore – in a daily basis. I have gained control of who I am going to hang out and spend my time with. So one beautiful morning, I went to FB and went on an un-friending spree. Aha, I never said a word to you, delete. I never liked you – delete. I hate you – definitely delete. I don’t think we’ll ever talk like EVER – no point in seeing you in my newsfeed.

Now that’s therapy for me.

5. Acceptance

a)    New e-mail account with my actual name in it! Win!

b)    New transportation. Say goodbye to the 5 minute drive to school! Hello, hour and a half train ride plus 15 minute walk in the bridge and all. And then of course the travel time back is not included… so yeah. Don’t worry, believe it or not, I do enjoy observing random strangers (not in the stalker-ish kind of way). I am fascinated about people’s lives. I wonder how they live theirs. I wonder how you live your life, dear reader.

c)    New campuses! I am sick of suburbia. Yes, the beaches are amazing at home but I’m not really a beach person anyway. I love the city life and can’t wait to experience it again. Oh look, there are people crossing the streets in flocks! I have become socially inept and out of fashion. So now I have to actually think about what I’m going to wear. Hmm. At least no more of those awful disgusting cowboy felt hats – that’s something to feel good about! I am keen to explore the hidden treasures in the concrete jungle of Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point.

d)    New timetable! No more useless Maths. Or stupid Biology. I don’t have to go to school on Thursdays (for this semester).

*I had to read Pride and Prejudice for Extension English. When I say read, I meant I didn’t finish it because it was way too long for me given the endless endnotes. Got an A for my assessment though so yeah, take that Janie.

** A tip for all students, never buy a book unless your teacher has specifically said that you will need that particular book. Also, bear in mind that in a few weeks, you might change your mind for whatever reason and move to another subject. I’m an expert “mover” and proud.

How was your transition like… from high school to university? Did you experience Graduation blues? I want to know all about it! Please tell me  I’m not making this up.


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