This weekend we took a vacation to attend commencement at Caltech. This marked the formal end of my Ph.D. program. Some people don’t feel compelled to attend such events. After all, my degree requirements were completed 6 months ago and the degree would have been conferred in my absence. However, this ceremony was important to me. Ceremonies are the mile markers in our biographical highways indicating important spots to exit for a stroll down memory lane.
I read a book in college titled Raising a Modern Day Knight that argued that ceremonies are vital to establishing our sense of manhood (this book was about raising boys). These days the line of demarcation between childhood and adulthood is very blurry. Celebrating events of significance defines the path to maturity. My graduation is the latest event on my road to manhood. I still don’t feel as though I have arrived (you might agree if you caught me playing Xbox late at night). But I will celebrate this moment and store it away.
By the way, the Caltech commencement ceremony can be viewed as a streaming video here.