Graduation Feels


Sheyenne Riojas, Staff Writer

This time of the year most seniors are completely stoked. They are prepared for one of the greatest days of their lives.

Meanwhile, there are some others struggling with whether they’re ready for it or not. It can seem like seniors are mostly filled with happiness and the excitement of being able to be done with 12-plus years of constant schooling. It can be easy to forget that some students are having the complete opposite feeling.

My mother is currently in prison and she won’t be able to make my graduation because of her travel restrictions. Of course people have their opinions on whether or not somebody who is in prison should be able to attend important family events like graduation ceremonies. However, I feel like something like this should be granted at least if they’re on “good behavior.” I don’t understand how the prison system works and I never will. Most will just blame it on “the choices” prisoners have made and say they should accept the consequences of their actions.Truly though, I think they forget that the “inmates” are human and can feel the exact same emotions everybody else can. Even in other situations such as family loss, they don’t even allow funeral attendance.

From a personal perspective, I’m not sure what I feel at this exact moment, knowing that my mother won’t be there to watch me walk the stage. She won’t be here to take up all the space in my photo gallery of pictures on social media. I won’t get one of the most comforting hugs while she tells me how fast I’ve grown up. Most importantly this is a moment that we have been waiting for almost all of my life.

For those who can relate, you start to question whether you can still walk the stage without the pain of their absence. You go through this anger, this stress, and a mix of feelings like that. You eventually just start to find ways to cope with knowing they won’t make it. Then once the moment comes about a week away, you start feeling these emotions all over again.

Graduation is absolutely one of the greatest things that we get to experience. You are granted this paper that tells you that you’ve basically made it into the real world. Other feelings that can come with this time of the year is the fear of not knowing what you want to do with your life after this stage is over. That’s when you just think of all of the hard work you’ve done. You need to give yourself the credit you deserve. Then you think about those life decisions that you have to make on your own. For me, I’m comforted by the fact that eventually, my mother who won’t be able to see this part of my life, they will be able to celebrate your future success.

The prison system should genuinely consider letting those who are incarcerated attend events like graduation. We need those loved ones with us to be able to support us with this emotional life-changing moment that they aren’t able to see.

I plan to do my best to cope with the pain, knowing that I can say I did it without letting my Mother’s absence affect me from being able to walk the stage.