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BCI Remembers: Graduation Memories and Advice for New Boston College Grads

Boston College Delayed Graduation Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Laura: It’s graduation time of year! Do you guys have any favorite memories of your own BC graduation?
All I can remember about mine was that it was so terribly hot, much like this weekend, and we were all so miserable in the sun after being up all night.

Arthur: I remember that it started pouring in the middle of the ceremony so the people in front of me decided that was a good time to open umbrellas for the rest of the ceremony, so my memory of commencement is staring at umbrellas and the water dripping off the umbrellas onto my gown. So don’t be that person, wear a rain coat if it’s going to rain.
It also probably felt different because I knew I wasn’t going into the real world because I was going to law school, which is aggressively not the real world.

Steve: I vividly remember one of my friends lying down on the ground to take a nap during the speech. The rest is a blur.

Maithri: For how emotional I get around graduation I don’t really remember anything specific about my ceremony itself? I just remember being really happy-sad because I was proud of myself and my friends but also really sad that it was the last time we’d all be around each other. It was also grossly humid and hot!

Laura: I remember not a single second of the speech my year. Sorry to the … Prime Minister of Ireland(?)

Arthur: Pretty sure our speaker spent time talking about his connection to the Jesuits and not anything else. No one was listening so it’s fine.

Joe: Mine was also terribly hot, I was having a nervous breakdown the night before and barely slept, and I got dehydrated and passed out but not in the fun way. So, not the best memory there. I had then-CEO of GE Jeff Immelt as my speaker, he was Fine, I don’t remember much about it because of the aforementioned dehydration.

Grant: Yeah, it was hot. Mostly I remember the hotness. I also remember my mom and sister trying desperately to persuade me to leave early after I got my name called for my diploma but I didn’t want to cut short my own graduation. It was my graduation; I don’t care how hot it was.

Arthur: Also leaving early isn’t cool to the latter group of people.

Joe: Leaving after your own name called would have been a huge Grant move though.

Grant: I also had a pretty funny sunburn triangle on my forehead which was prominent on my first day of work the next day. I just rolled with it lol. “Oh, this? Oh I just graduated from Boston College yesterday. Yeah, Boston College. No big deal.”

Arthur: Also such a Grant move.

Curtis: My graduation experience was a bit unique, as it was held 1.5 years after I actually received my diploma. COVID hitting in 2020 and cutting off my senior year was very rough, but overall the graduation weekend in October 2021 was pretty fun. Met up with friends I hadn’t seen since the start of the pandemic and enjoyed a rather brief ceremony. Plus it was indoors! No rain or heat like you guys had to deal with.

Laura: Wow Grant’s comment about leaving just unlocked the memory of the pure hell it was trying to move out and leave campus.

Joe: I managed to get most of my stuff out in advance - the advantage of being local - the most painful part to me was really the emotional hit of going in to the dorm one last time to get last few things and leave.

Grant: Yeah that emotional hit was real. I think I also had most of my stuff ready to go and packed into the car(s). I drove myself back solo with my family in the other car and I definitely have a very particular memory if driving off on Comm Ave with campus to my left and thinking “wow, now that’s really it, it’s all over.” It was sad.

Joe: Yeah, I wish I felt the pride that some people feel on the accomplishment of having graduated, but the sadness + general overwhelmingness of the moment sort of prevented that for me. Obviously it’s something I look back on fondly.

Arthur: It felt really weird for me because one day I was at Commencement Ball really impressed with the group of people I was graduating with, the next day I was at my favorite restaurant in the North End (Riccardos baby, get the chicken parm) for my graduation dinner, next day I was leaving. I had some whiplash not gonna lie.

Laura: Haha yea obviously it was different for me since I was just staying at BC for my ill-fated law school years.
Speaking of which! What would be your best advice for new BC grads? Mine is definitely to not feel like you have to follow one specific path because it might take you a few tries to find the career you’re happy in and that’s okay and normal!

Joe: Don’t join a sports blog.
But honestly do keep your season tickets, BC may make you sad a lot but it’s really so nice if you have enjoyed your BC experience and care about sports, to have that tie that binds you to the school and your friends. I maybe wish I was a little less of a lunatic but I wouldn’t trade the friendships and the experiences. (This is assuming you are the kind of person who reads a BC sports blog naturally so you’re already a little odd.) (No offense.)
And if/once you have the money, get involved with the booster club for your favorite sport. It’s another nice way to make friends and make a tangible impact on a team you care about. And generally they could all use getting younger alums involved.
As for real life stuff, eh, don’t ask me. Just be a nice person.

Grant: Real life advice: It’s not super likely for you to get your dream job out of the gate. Don’t be afraid to settle for a solid job. I know the whole #antiwork thing is big these days but if there’s one thing I’ve experienced, it’s that being good at what you do and working hard will present opportunities. That’s the way to get to where you want to be. Not everyone feels this way, but that’s been my experience.
BC advice: If you don’t have a WhatsApp chat or Slack chat or Facebook Messenger chat or carrier pigeon chat with your BC circle of friends, start one. Keeping the circle of friends close even if you live several states away has been the best. Our group chat is so active it borders on sensory overload at times but it’s nice to keep everyone close and I would be much less happy without it.

Arthur: That’s great advice. Some of my closest friends in life I met at BC. Heck of my six groomsmen five went to BC. Take your friendships seriously.
I think you always be kind to people. If being kind for the sake of being kind isn’t a good enough incentive (it should be) then you need to be mindful of how interconnected we are. Every law student has a horror story of someone they knew losing a job because they were rude to an administrative assistant who, little did they know, had more sway over the partner they were interviewing with than any lawyer at the firm. To be clear, be kind to admins because they are often the hardest workers of any office and deserve far more appreciation than we give them, but also be kind to everyone because you never know who they’re going to talk to, and the way you treat people you may view as below your pay grade reveals far more about your character than you realize. Also to be clear, I would be absolutely nowhere without our office admins so.
Also not viewing anyone as below your pay grade is probably a great place to start with being respectful to everyone.

Maithri: My real life, probably naive, advice would probably be to try your best to find balance, whatever that might mean to you!
It’s extremely exciting to start your first job out of college, but I also feel like that can easily lead to making your job your whole life and throwing every single thing you have at it. I know work and career expectations are very different across different industries, but I think it’s important to try your best in whatever circumstances you’re in to not make your job your whole life or tie it to your self-worth. It’s really, really good to feel passionate about your job, but if you aren’t balancing it out with taking care of yourself outside of work (again, this could be anything!) that passion can easily slip away, which can be really heartbreaking. It took a global pandemic starting 8 months into my real-adult life for me to really learn and internalize this, and I was lucky to be in a job that was already flexible and had a good work life balance before COVID hit. That being said, the keyword is try! It’s totally fine and normal if you just haven’t been able to find your balance yet — the world makes things harder than they have to be and all of us are just trying to get by the best we can :)

Curtis: As a very recent alum I don’t have too much advice. But I will say: it’s ok if you don’t have your shit together right after college. I was in this weird mindset that I needed to have the perfect entry level job lined up for my career right after I graduated. But in reality, it took me months to find the right opportunity to get on track with my life, and even now I have friends who are still figuring it out. Which is perfectly fine! Right now is the best time to experiment, make mistakes, and find your footing in the world. Hell I’m still doing that.

Laura: Curtis is correct! I went to law school, hated it, worked temp jobs at BC for a year while I figured my life out, went back to grad school, and now I get to buy books all day for a library and am truly in the job I’m supposed to be in. But it took me years to figure it out!
Also I think touching on things some of you guys have mentioned, staying involved in the parts of the BC community you love is great advice! Some of my best friends from BC are from college, but some are from post-grad connections from BC hockey games and BC Interruption. The BC community will continue to bring you good things even after you graduate! (Ew, I hate being sentimental but it’s true!)

Let us know your favorite graduation memories and/or best advice for new BC grads in the comments!