Commencement is our Reaping.
We dress up in our Sunday finest (or equivalent for us pagans) and feed into the administration’s plans for our presentation. Loud speakers boom with ominous voices as we line up for our entrance. Our procession is predetermined and practiced, robotic as Reaping Day yet infused with forced eagerness. Our parents look on and understand all too well what we are about to experience, and they sit with mixed excitement and dread. Either way, our beds are ready just in case we come home.
The speeches are the same.
The Chancellor’s words and commencement addresses all basically conclude with “May the odds be ever in your favor.”
We are fed as if preparing for the Games.
If you are a recent graduate, you are probably still reveling in the immense amount of 5-star food provided you these past few days. No longer are the days of hunting for our meals (in the treacherous dining halls); instead, briefly, we are spoiled with the classiest food before we plunge into a world of constant Ramen noodles.
The real world is our arena.
It might look like the average world of the Districts, but once you enter into the work place, it’s a dog-eat-dog (or trackerjacker-sting-trackerjacker) world where you will constantly compete to stay on top. We dress ourselves in the most fitting-of-Cinna professional attire and plop into the arena with our own weapons: resumes and portfolios. The cornucopia might hold that tenure track or sought-after promotion but it’ll be booby-trapped along the way by conniving enemies and unforeseen obstacles alike.
The Careers still exist.
There are inevitably two kinds of graduates. Some approach the process with intense excitement, arrogantly confident in their ability to conquer their future careers and thrive with continued success. These individuals tend to be our future consultants and investment bankers, bred by the Economics department to unapologetically climb to the top.
Meanwhile, you have a massive population of hesitant other tributes, anxiously awaiting the unknown of the future. These are your idealists (like myself), sworn to non-profit work no matter how close that puts us near the poverty line. We all like to think that we will be the future Katniss or Peeta of the world, attractive, idealistic, athletic and capable of making a difference. But some of us will fall like dear Rue and capitulate to the demands of the real world.
There is always someone to defy the system.
Our graduating rebels are those who fist pump across the stage (a frat move fitting of Gale), moon-walking with diploma in hand (Rue’s light on her feet, right?) or wearing something absolutely absurd. Regardless, our Peetas and Katnisses provide the necessary relief from this otherwise daunting process.
In the end, we all must face the reality of Games and no matter the challenge, we’ll go out with pride and determination.
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