I. Rodriguez – Week Three – Description of a Ritual

For some of us this day will come in December but for many it will happen in the Spring of 2017. Graduation of any scholastic degree is an accomplishment to come from miles away and gather in the auditorium to honor the hard working students. Graduating college has to be one of the hardest tasks an 18-23 year olds will encounter in their young lives and soon to be future oncomings.

As a student at Michigan State University, we will be commencing in the Breslin Center. A basketball/events arena that daunts any high school gym where we had our previous ceremony to congratulate the success of high school. Depending on the ceremony and major, the stands will vary in size of family and friends. As a student in The School of Hospitality Business, I am aware that my ceremony will last longer than the average, medium school and the stands will be crowded due to the large number of students graduating in Hospitality or simply the Eli Broad College of Business.

There will be a sea of green and students who fear what is next. To start off the ceremony, the classic composition by Edward Elgar will begin to play while the students find their seats. Dressed in what seems to be an outdated joke of a gown, representing the cardboard square hat, while eagerly waiting to turn the tassel from the right side of their cap to the successful left side. Generally, the Dean of the College will speak about the successes and potential each and every student withholds. Parents gaze into the future with high hopes and begin to reminisce on the challenges and hard fought victories their child had to overcome in order to earn this special ritual. Student speakers usually follow the Dean and offer what it meant to them as a student of Michigan State and what insight they have gained from professors and mentors.

The names of the students are presented once the speeches, which are generally ignored, come to an end. Camcorders and iPhones come to life as the parents and friends film their student walk across the stage to be handed their pseudo diploma.

Why? The music at the beginning of this ritual grows to become a nostalgic tune. As many parents have experienced themselves, the classic graduation composition signifies success and gratitude. Students and everyone involved are at least somewhat transformed after this experience. Many graduates will use this day to either boost their Instagram account or truly take a step back and reconcile on the magnitude of earning a degree from the world-class institution that is Michigan State.

I believe this is a Right of Passage through: closure, stressing responsibility and enhancing solidarity. Many students pride themselves on hard work and the ability to push themselves beyond human limits in the classroom. Graduating from their university marks a point where there is reassurance to never come across those exact emotions again. I swam for Michigan State and finishing up my fourth year of eligibility this past February was a graduation for us. We received recognition for our responsibility.

3 thoughts on “I. Rodriguez – Week Three – Description of a Ritual

  1. The writer described the main topic of Graduation Ceremony straight away at the beginning and concisely and clearly directed to the Graduation ceremony in Michigan State University. The third paragraph and the fourth paragraph vividly describe the scenario of the graduation ceremony from the students coming to seat to Dean’s speech, and also give an lively shot of how graduates dress-up (eg. Dressed in what seems to be an outdated joke of a gown..) as well as their parents activities (eg. Parents gaze into the future with high hopes and begin to reminisce on the challenges and hard fought victories their child had to overcome in order to earn this special ritual) during the ceremony, which are drawing a strong atmosphere of graduation. Then the writer highlighted the topic with further explaining on the ritual of this ceremony, such as the music playing at the beginning. Overall, this passage has put emphasis on the ritual of graduation ceremony at Michigan State University, which consists of very clear detail with lively description and reasonable explanation.

  2. I would like to bring you back to the assignment, specifically where we were told to write the article ethnographically. As we have learned from this course ethnography is the scientific description that anthropologists use to discuss cultures in a manner that is neutral and unbiased and does not compare to their own culture. I believe you did the opposite of this. The language used in this post was very opinionated and kind of just rude. For example, you stated “Many graduates will use this day to either boost their Instagram account or truly take a step back…” Did you ask every graduate if this is how they wanted to get the most out of their graduation, if not I do not think it belongs in a post to discuss a ritual as an outsider looking in. Describing your own graduation very specifically also did not fit the goal, and among other things not every graduation takes place in the Breslin Center.

  3. I. Rodriguez,

    Upon reading your post, I must disagree with the stance you took regarding the ritual of graduation. Being a recent graduate myself, I find that graduation stands as a ritual of intensification rather than a ritual of passage. During my graduation ceremony, which took place in the Breslin Center as you described, I did not feel as if I had transitioned into a different period of my life. However, I believe that the bond between the Spartan family – either those that attended the university, those who sent their loved ones there for education, or those who support the direction Michigan State pushes their students – grows alongside the execution of this ceremony. To reference your post, you stated about students boosting their Instagram status or reconciling on the magnitude of earning a degree. However, I believe this stance only regards the feelings of the students sitting in the stands and ignores the collective emotions of the crowd in the ceremony as a whole. The relationship and bond between those with some aspect of involvement with Michigan State University intensified that day and we all walked away with a greater understanding that throughout our walk of life, we are now connected to an entity greater than ourselves.

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