There is something about graduation that makes you both eager to leave and desperate to stay.
You put on that gown and straighten your cap and you just cannot wait to start on what you know is the life you have been sketching out for years.
But everything you see reminds you of what you are leaving behind. Oh, wow, I won’t ever sit in this chair in Pattee Library again. No, I can’t leave yet, not until I walk through the doors of the HUB one more time. Wait, no, I’m not ready. Let’s ... let’s ... let’s ...
That’s why it is kind of fitting that this year, Penn State graduation on Saturday comes hand in hand with Mother’s Day on Sunday.
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As a Penn Stater, I know the pull of the university. I know that it is block upon block of nostalgia that waits to envelop you with memories at every turn. I will caution you, though, not to let the current composition of campus get too stuck in your head. The great big building that sits in the middle of Shortlidge Road shocks me every time I can’t drive through it. Every single time.
But things change, because they always will, and what we love today is still what we will come to love tomorrow, even if we need to get used to it.
As a mother, I know that all too well. The baby who smiles on my desktop wallpaper is not the crazy kid singing on my phone, but I wouldn’t change him for the world. I know he is becoming something new and wonderful, someone who will make me proud, and I am a part of whatever amazing things he will go on to do with his life.
That’s what being a mom is about. It’s also why we call our college our alma mater. She helps define us, helps us find who we are, and then she lets us go.
So, to graduates like the Centre Daily Times’ own Clayton Over who are about to move that tassel, throw that cap and leave college behind, it’s OK to go, but it’s also OK to want to hold on.
And remember, just like your mom, Penn State will always be happy to have you come home to see her. Mothers are like that.