In a few short weeks, I will be graduating from college! I’m terribly excited for this day and it has a particularly strong significance for me. I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college. My family weathered abuse, homelessness, and poverty—and so far, I’m the only one who has broken this cycle. I moved out when I was still in high school and put myself through college (with the help of extraordinary teachers) and have worked so hard for this day. However, as it approaches, I can’t help but feel a little empty. I know it sounds petty, but I was secretly hoping someone would offer to help me throw a little graduation party. I know my mom isn’t planning to celebrate and honestly I’m just grateful that she is even coming to my commencement ceremony. Would it be in terrible taste to do something myself? I don’t want anything big, but I secretly, truly want to celebrate one of the most meaningful achievements of my life. Is that tacky or narcissistic? Or should I say nothing and just be grateful without the need to celebrate?
—The Almost Graduate