The finest writer to have graduated from USC wrote this about graduation.
The only thoughts I might add came to me as I sat in cool, dark, comforting Bovard Auditorium, watching my classmates receive handshakes and medals and congratulations in return for their efforts and their energy and their enthusiasm in their time at the University of Southern California.
As I watched them cross the stage — some gingerly, some full of poise — it was easy to see how the class of 2012 (Class of 2012?), defined itself.
At graduation, you don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. You wear it on your cardinal sash, on the gold letters that you inscribe there (or the gold letters that you wish you’d inscribed there, in hindsight, but you didn’t have enough cash floating around at the time, so it probably worked out for the best anyway).
Maybe you don’t wear a sash at all, because you didn’t have the heart to buy one or steal one or make your own one.
Your achievements sit comfortably on your shoulders, in the cords you earned and the medals you were awarded. What makes you you is displayed, proudly, to the world.
Sitting there, watching my classmates trade handshakes for medals and congratulations, I couldn’t help but think about how little I had learned about most of them. Sure, some of them were friends, and many were acquaintances.
But most were just people. People that I’d never met and probably never will meet. People that will go on to achieve greatness and mediocrity and failure. People that are so much more than could ever meet the eye.
Except on graduation day.