The Saturday 27 was the day I had been been waiting for; not because the “game is over,” but more to the fact that all burdens as a student have evaporated and vanished in the haze. I was graduated.
I was wrong to think that I could easily sleep the night before. Considering the distance between the campus and my house, I had to get the pillows earlier than ever. This is the first time I went to bed before 10 pm after four years: and I think it’s enough to explain how important the day was for me. But, I hardly closed my eyes. The memories of being a student in the English Department for four years suddenly crossed my sight; I was drifted back to the very first day of my classes, the campings, the Student Day things, Mr Gonzales’ lectures, the day when I talked to her for the first time, my changing attitudes from semester to semester, the intricate drama performance, the apprentice, the proposal seminar, comprehensive examination, activities outside campus, the “philosopher’s” café, and the hikings and trips. All came and vanished. I was lucky that I could fall asleep at 2 am, afterall!
The girls were a lot more complicated. They had to stay awake from 3 am in the saloon to “mend” their faces, the make-up things, and so forth. They launched some protests to me when I told them not to be too much in dressing for the graduation ceremony. In fact, this event was only once for a lifetime, so why bothered thinking “why should they dress like that?” Moreover, they looked amazing with the kebayas, at least from my eyes.
I took an early departure to Andalas University to avoid traffic jam in Pasar Baru. This morning, the car and the street were very smooth. When you feel very comfortable with something, the others will follow. Good sign. No traffic jam at all, though. We stopped the car in Faculty of Letters parking lot. Though the regulation had been made that all parkings activity would be handled by the university, in fact, some free men who settled nearby campus, took the opportunity to collect illegal taxes. They charged every car Rp5000. And the university authority was all to weak and afraid to handle this problem. The clash between university and the local people never ended in many places in Indonesia. We could do nothing as we needed the parking, though I was not sure they would stay there still until the graduation ceremony was over. It was not a dilemma, because if you refuse to pay and defend the argument that the campus authority is responsible for this, those guys will surely scratch your car or jab its tires once you leave. So granting Rp5000 for the sake of your car’s safety seem ‘reasonable’ in this condition.
The first move was in the auditorium, where all graduates were situated to listen to some speeches. It took 2.5 hours before each faculty handled its own ceremony. Andalas University produce 3,000 graduates this period and that was a great amount to count that tomorrow the number would rise the unemployment rate. Our faculty yielded seven best graduates, and one of them was choosen as the university’s best graduate. Pride was in the air.
The second move was in the faculty. We were led from the auditorium by some students from the Art Community to the Faculty of Letters with talempong performance. It was glorious indeed, considering that other faculties never had the idea of such an honor for their graduates. The seats had already been arranged for each graduate; the moves and manners had been practiced the day before to avoid mistakes and anxiety. So, the certificates were all delivered, the dean had take the chance to give speech. Now a word or two from the graduates’ parents. And it was my father, chosen to give speech. Rina Agustin, as the best graduate was also appointed to give some words representing all the graduates from the Faculty of Letters. Everything ran smoothly. Some lecturers were seen around and we took pictures with them. Eventhough my supervisor was not there, cause she had to attend another more important ceremony, but still there were many friends to take pictures with.
Hundreds of photographs were recorded in the camera. It was full charged in the morning and by 2 pm, the battery had already been empty. My hair was already messy, the girls with the kebayas were all looked like they wore masks with the chunky make-ups.
The ceremony was over and we got to take a ride back home. But, it was the time when we got to encounter another problem. The cars were all left lying on the roads without care and looked messy and crowded. We found it very difficult to get the hell out of this situation. Everyone wanted to be the first to get out of the university right now. Striken cars, chaotic parkings, shoutings were all seen and heard simultaneously from every metre of the road. We were trapped for over one hour just to reach the main gate! When people got panic and frustrated because their cars were trapped in the middle of impatient hordes of other cars, no authority came up to give directions and solutions. Though I cursed several times upon the condition, nothing I could do but to wait patiently and took any chances to turn the car to right directions. The condition all got worse when some trucks and buses also came inside and took a totally wrong direction cause they move against the mainstream. My first year as a student had witnessed how the transportation problem never found the solution in this campus. And until I graduated from this university, the same old problem was always there to trigger everyone’s anger. One side of my heart was all too sad to leave these days in the campus cause there were a lot of sweet memories, but the other thanked God very much to have been set free from it.
I’ve had my run and all is done: for a small thing. But, the graduation day is only the beginning of a much bigger thing. One phase of life has been passed through, very well indeed.