Ceremonies and Rituals

Here’s something I’ll probably never be able to write again: by the time you read this sentence, I will have graduated from Gonzaga.

Unofficially, of course. Officially, I still need to finish my Internship hours, revise a theory paper, take my ProSem class, sit for my orals, and start applying for jobs.

This is far from the closure I would prefer. But you know what? I’m finding out that that is one of the big challenges of life: to draw our own meanings from a sticky, complicated existence.

I hear about similar stories from my clients all the time, about how what should have been a major life event was drained of its joy by its complications. I’m trying to make sure I learn from their mistakes.

Even a week ago, I didn’t really care about the graduation ceremony. To me, it was just another excuse for the school to siphon my money for the privilege of sitting in an unventilated gym. Clearly, not the best use of my emotional energy, especially not for a new mental health grad.

Instead, here’s how I’m trying to picture it. My family, who I actually do care about, would like to see me up there getting my degree. If it’s important to them, it’s important to me. The meaning, like the actual diploma, will have to come later, through pictures and memories that have long since outlived the boredom.


  1. Congratulations, Austin! (I totally cheered.) You really are going to be an incredible counselor.

  2. You are an incredible person and an impressive human being. You continue to be open to learning and helping and your special caring personality and incredible insight and wisdom will make you the best counselor anyone could ever hope for. You are going to make the world a better place!!!