Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

17 May 2015

A Way I Never Graduated

Today I managed to escape from grading papers for a couple of hours.  I pedaled hard even though, thankfully, I don't have to ride very fast to escape from papers, even the good ones.  It's nice to know that at my age, and after a winter of inactivity, I can still outrun something.

Exams are this week.  Some students will beg and cajole me to accept long-overdue work.  Their stories will get longer and more pitiful by the day.  Then, after I finish reading them and the exams--and dealing with the shock expressed by those students upon seeing the grades they earned for their late work--there will be graduations, where I teach and at other schools.  Some have had them already.

I didn't attend my graduation for my master's degree.  I don't think anybody in my class did.  I walked up to the podium, absurdly overdressed considering how hot it was and the fact that the gown covered what I was wearing, to get my bachelor's degree and high school diploma mainly because my family attended those ceremonies.   

While riding today, I wondered what it would have been like to pedal up to the podium.  Do schools have official policies against such things?  If they do, it's probably because they know people like me would snatch their sheepskins (or whatever those degrees and diplomas are printed on) and ride like hell, as fast and as far away as possible, from the ceremony, the commencement speakers who didn't say anything anyone would remember and all of the people I never wanted to see again. (I've never been to any of my class reunions.  Are you surprised?)

Or maybe I would've had more fun if I could have gotten my degree from the saddle (or ex cathedra).  Maybe if others did the same, we could have made a game of tossing our caps in the air: We could catch our own caps, or someone else's. Or we could dodge them.  Hmm...If you catch someone else's cap, will you end up marrying that person?

All right.  I'm sure that some school has a bike procession up to the podium, but I'm not aware of it.  It wouldn't surprise me to learn that in some college, everyone rode to his or her graduation ceremony and rode out of it.  Now that would make for some interesting group photos.

Turns out, my musings aren't so far-fetched after all.  Last year, some graduates of Liaocheng University in China posed for this:



Graduation photos get creative in China
From China Daily


They were lying on the lawn for this photo, taken in Shandong Province.  Maybe it was their final project for a degree in performing or visual arts.

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