Carlo's Think Pieces

Reflections of a Filipino in the Netherlands

Some thoughts on graduation and graduation balls

Posted by butalidnl on 31 March 2009

It’s graduation time in the Philippines, and many graduates and parents attend not only graduation ceremonies, but also activities associated with it. This could be a special mass, a ball, etc. And there are also accessories associated with it – a pin, a ring.

Of course these events cost money, and it is quite logical that some people are calling for sobriety, of not requiring graduates to dish out money for yet another school expense.  After all, college graduation is not a universal practice. Here in the Netherlands, students graduate individually or in small groups; it is a private and (I think) more meaningful practice.  And the high school graduation, while en masse, consists mainly of students and their advisors signing the diploma. And then there are snacks served after this.

Thus, one may say, why not have more meaningful and/or cheaper graduations?

While a simpler graduation format may be cheaper or even more practical; graduations have a symbolic and ceremonial function. Parents bear their burden of paying for a child’s studies partly on the expectation of a graduation march at the end of the road. To do away with the ceremony would make things seem bare – and working for a piece of paper is not as appealing as marching up the stage.

The bigger expense would be the graduation ball – in a sense, they are not needed for symbolical purposes.  However, if we think about it a bit more; the ball precludes the need for private celebrations. In effect, the expense for such private celebrations is replaced by the centrally organized event. Even those who would not organize their own graduation party would also spend money if they are invited to such parties.

So, I think that in general it would not be a  good idea to “simplify” the process of graduation. Let the students and parents have their day in the limelight.

One Response to “Some thoughts on graduation and graduation balls”

  1. edicio said

    Hi Carlo, welcome back to the blogsphere! Was wondering about your absence for quite a while. Happy Easter to you, Maya and the family.

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