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An Elephant In The Room

Updated: Jul 24

My college notified me today that I had passed the final test required for graduation and that my certificate would be mailed to me shortly. I studied Computer Science in Germany (I'm American by birth), despite the fact that my high school teachers always said I was below-average in math; I even wrote my bachelor's thesis on robotics in German (which isn't my native language) and received a high grade. As soon as I get my degree, I'm going to apply for a master's degree — some universities have already expressed interest in my enrollment based on my grades and CV, and luckily, my grade average is high enough to meet their requirements!

I couldn't believe my eyes and ears when I found out I had passed and would be graduating — I couldn't believe it (especially since I was terrified I'd fail this last test and have to wait another semester!). My first thought was to tell everyone I knew about my graduation and plan some sort of (safe) celebration or something, since the college is obviously not organizing anything. Unfortunately, no one seems to care. In fact, I have the impression that everyone is upset with me because I am happy about something. Normally, I'm the one who encourages, congratulates, and praises others; now that I'm happy about something, no one is there to treat me the same way.

When I told my mother, she became irritated and cut me off while I was speaking. She is more concerned about a leak in her garden shed's roof. My friends texted me "great news," but they don't want to get together or even hold a virtual celebration in a multiplayer game.

Now I feel like I exaggerated the significance of my graduation and that I shouldn't expect other people to celebrate something that is so insignificant to them and only really meaningful to me.

Some of my friends are graduating and will most likely be celebrating at home, so they're probably too busy celebrating their own achievement to care about mine; a few other friends aren't graduating yet and probably don't like it that my graduation reminds them that theirs is another semester off. My mother earned a master's degree in engineering and worked on the construction of an aircraft carrier, so she probably considers my graduation to be a drop in the bucket in comparison to her or her parents' accomplishments (my grandma was an oncologist, my grandpa a veteran and a blacksmith).

Now I'm wondering what the best course of action would be. Should I just ignore my graduation and pretend it never happened, moving on with bitter feelings toward those close to me, or should I celebrate on my own in some way? How would you deal with this? I'm not used to celebrations other than baking a cake or buying myself a video game; I don't even celebrate my birthday, but I believe that college graduation is a significant milestone in one's life (at least it feels that way for me).

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