Last Tuesday, I walked across a rainy stage in the middle of a sea of umbrellas to be handed a rolled-up little piece of paper that said I had graduated. Actually, that particular paper was more along the lines of "Thanks for coming to the ceremony," but we all knew what it stood for.
I realized just how many people I've never met in my own major, in my own emphasis. Berkeley is a tough place to make friends in academic settings, in part because the class size is often quite big. Despite that, I befriended the person seated next to me. It turns out she's going to be at Stanford next year as well!
However big the world may seem, it's really rather small.
And thank goodness for that, because going out into the world is a scary thought. I am so glad to have my family and friends providing a circle of support. I've been working on being proactive in spending time with my friends, and I'm going to do my best to stay in touch with them after graduation as well.
This post was supposed to be about graduation and how when I lamented that it was raining only the three days of my roommates' and my graduations, my friend told me to think of it this way: Berkeley is sad to see us go.
Instead, it became about my friends and family. People who sat through the rain for the ceremony, risked their cameras in the rain during the receptions, and cared enough to ignore the cold and tell me congratulations.
My message for my fellow graduates, then:
It's the people around you that make life worth living. Keep them close when you move out into the world, because they will keep you happy - and sane.