This week has been one of putting this off.
I thought of all the things I have written in my life, writing about my graduation would be the easiest because I have written it so many times over the years .
There is a long draft in it’s honor, that has gone through serious refinement. I am in shock it has not made the cut, but I have also been an adult long enough to know that nothing ever goes according to plan.
Today being a week later, let me write about the day that has been 20 years coming and move on with my life.
The day was 7th July 2017.
A lot of rain. A lot of traffic. A lot of hunger.
A lot of prayers.
A lot of tears and a lot of waking up early after sleeping late.
After nearly two decades and several attempts to drop out some more successful than others, mother dearest got her moment.
The length of said moment was the duration it took for my dean and his fancy accent to read my name and for me to walk a few meters on a red carpet turned pink from the down pour. And that was it, all my blood, sweat and plasma and throwing the phrase “law student” around like it pays bills came down to a name call and walk.
I had made an agreement with the sun, to mobilize all her sky friends to stop and give me a standing ovation when they read my name, but she bailed and sent the treacherous rain. The earth was supposed to rise a dramatically racing dust that in my language they call; “akairiringo” but none of those things happened.
I went through the same routine that the 1136 others, on that graduation ground did and the millions that have come before us. Which is something similar to this;
- Waking up so early
- Having heavy breakfast because graduation ceremonies are long and hunger giving.
- Dressing up.
- Getting side eye from mother about the length of the dress.
- Getting into the car.
- Having heart felt conversations on the way to school .
- Arriving at school.
- Learning on that the shoes you bought were not made for walking any distance.
- Taking the pain from the heels like a champ because slaying must cost something.
- Finding your friends
- Taking a lot of pictures.
- Paying zero attention to the ceremony until minutes before they read your name or until your phone blacks out.
Not as glorious as I envisioned except that the joy of graduation is not in the ceremony.
It is difficult to be a graduate in this country because the ratio of jobs to graduates is about 40000:8000 and school does very little to equip us with the shock absorbents to deal with that little fact. It is even more difficult if your entire clan is trusting that your academic transcript shall be their key to the kingdom of wealth.
So what is graduation about?
Why did I buy an expensive ‘inappropriate’-according to mother dress, painful shoes and leave the warmth of my bed into the rain to attend this ceremony?
Gratitude that’s why?
That I learnt how to read and write and how to use a computer and the internet and hashtags so I can participate in #klarestaurantweek.
That it put me in rooms with multiple strangers and we bonded over coursework and nicknaming teachers and brokeness and abrupt tests and annoying lecturers and bad school food and Jesus.
That those strangers are now the family that I chose.
That I was caged for more than two decades of my life which means I am qualified to rant about “adulting”.
That mother dearest is proud of me and herself because after working herself to a breaking point, she gets bragging rights among her peers that she produced a lawyer. (That means everything in my village of Kanywankoko).
I watched a video of Rihanna giving a speech at Harvard where she said something along the lines of what any person really needs is a chance at life.
And I am grateful that education is my chance at life. The sun may not have stopped for me on 7th July but hearing my name being read in Dean’s fancy accent and my mother’s accompanying ululation means I got my chance. My shot at life.
To fill my head with cases and laws for which I am about to find out the purpose
To make mistakes.
To learn from them and make others.
And somewhere between universities to find myself and my voice and this blog.
I know education is not about to hand me the world’s treasures and the clan may have to cut pressure on the trust they have in my rather impressive transcript, but it is a gift I was lucky to receive.
It may not be the key to success but that key opens a few doors and those doors lead to other doors. And for that I am grateful. (Cue Sandra Suubi’s Nsiimye)
Let’s see what “the real world “, like its fondly known has got.
Congratulations to me.