Saturday morning: I’m at Starbucks, hunched over some Doctor Who-themed T.A.R.D.I.S. notebook paper that I’m trying to pass off as nice stationery, stringing together an alarming number of clichés to describe how much I care about my graduating friends and their future endeavors. I’m also tearing up a little. When the college-aged hipster next to me casts a sideways glance from behind his Macbook and Chai latte, I mutter something about allergies and misplaced eyelashes and unsuccessfully attempt to pull myself together.
As I grab a tall java chip frappuccino for my grad party buddy and head out the door to pick him up, I experience more “allergic reactions.” But I’m not emotional because I’m sad, really–just sentimental about all of the good times I’ve had with the class of 2014.
Because I had so many good times with the seniors, I spent 11 hours grad party hopping, congratulating graduates and eating delicious barbecue and candy yesterday. I also went to some grad parties today and Friday, so I’m pretty much an expert. Here are my grad party-goer Do’s and Don’ts:
DO: Get the graduates a gift. It can be as simple as a heartfelt note of encouragement or as extravagant as a desk made of solid gold and wrapped in $100 bills. Since I make minimum wage, I wrote a lot of heartfelt notes of encouragement.
DON’T: Write your notes in a public place, unless you aren’t bothered by the potential of unexpected waterworks damaging your desired emotionless persona.
DO: Have a go-to grad party buddy. Preferably one with lots of friends in common, so you don’t awkwardly end up at several grad parties celebrating the accomplishments of people you weren’t even aware existed.
DON’T: Listen to my last “DO.” Some of the most delicious catering was at the parties for the seniors I’d never met. If anyone looked at me strangely for being there, I just said that I was my grad party buddy’s chauffeur/official taste-tester for the afternoon, and all was forgiven.
DO: Show up late. After realizing that Facebook invites that say, “the party begins at 2” really mean “the party begins at 2:40,” my grad party buddy and I altered our schedule slightly and set aside an hour to swing and climb on stuff at the park in order to maintain our cool kid status at the rest of the evening’s festivities.
DON’T: Show up too late. A couple of my friends showed up to what I considered one of the best grad parties of the day after the bouncy house had been taken down, most of the food had been eaten and pretty much everybody else had left. I suppose you could make the best of the awkward situation by chatting one-on-one with a grad and expressing genuine interest in his or her plans for the future, but you would have to do so without a bouncy house, which kind of really sucks.
DO: Avoid thinking about the fact that this may be one of the last times you’ll see a friend for a while. Focus on celebrating the good times you’ve had and the exciting uncertainty of the future. As one of my close senior friends so eloquently put it last night at her grad party: “Kyra, I know you hate quotes, but this one totally applies to this situation: ‘Don’t cry because it’s over–cry because it happened.’ No, that wasn’t it. It was something better than that. Dang it.”
Good luck, seniors of 2014. I’d say Free State will be quiet without you, but there are plenty of excessively vocal freshmen moving up to take your place. It’s The Lion King’s circle of life, and it’s sad and beautiful at the same time.