On December 6, 2017 I completed my last final at Howard University. I was a mix of relieved, excited, stressed, and sad at the same time. You know, regular graduate stuff. Months later on May 12, 2018 I attended the final commencement. In the months between my last final and commencement I moved to California, secured a job, and started living as a full adult. For those reasons going back for graduation was a little weird. I honestly didn’t feel like it was about me. I was going for the experience, hanging out with my family, and helping my friends celebrate their accomplishments. My time for “Congrats!” and “What’s next for you?” felt like it had past.
The first day I was back on campus there was a rehearsal for graduation and an award ceremony. If I’m being 100% honest all I cared about that day was seeing my friends and looking cute. That was until the award ceremony. I received an award for Exemplar Television Production. That served as a reminder that during my matriculation at Howard I had really done something and people noticed. The recognition it made me feel incredible! Somehow, I still didn’t feel like the weekend was for me to celebrate myself.
The day of my school’s graduation I was excited to scream and cheer for all my friends. Most of my friends came before me in the alphabet, so even as I waited for my name to be called I was yelling things like “OKAY! YOU BETTER! WHAT ELSE, SIS?!” and such. Then it was my turn to walk. One of my favorite professors announced “Lisa Kalurah Satchell, Magna Cum Laude” and it hit me. My four and a half years of college classes were all leading to that moment. My friends and family cheered as I walked the stage. That moment was for me and no one else. From then on I realized I needed to be celebrating myself along with my friends.
The day of the University commencement came and I was hype. I was ready to not only continue celebrating, but to hear our commencement speaker- Chadwick Boseman. Before Chadwick’s speech I honestly wasn’t too attentive to what was happening. What I do remember is a moment I had with my friends. I told them how I wasn’t concerned that some of us were heading different directions. Between technology and our strong bonds, there’s no reason we can’t keep up our friendships. Then of course I started crying. Not because I was sad, but because I was so proud. We all had completed our degrees and are now ready to take our paths to success. That’s no small thing!!
When Chadwick took the podium to give his speech he kind of echoed what I was thinking. It was incredibly well spoken and well written. Great metaphors, references, and everything needed to make a full circle complete speech. (Speech in video below, starts at 13:43)
After all that inspiration our degrees were conferred by the University President and it was time to say our goodbyes. Of course I cried again. This time there was a little sadness. My friends and I probably won’t all be back on campus together for a while. All the memories we made are now in the past. I was mostly still filled with pride, though. I know we’re all going to dominate in our fields. The future is so bright and we’ve already accomplished so much.
So for all the December graduates, shout out to us. We got a double celebration and a little break from adulting. To all the May graduates, take time to celebrate this victory! Spend time with your family and friends while you job hunt or look forward to further education. And congrats to all of us who persevered to the very end. We did that, y’all!!