Your name is called, you make for the stage.
Climbing the short series of steps, you shake hands with deans and presidents whom you've never met.
They are smiling widely at you, but only with their mouths.
There is no recognition in their eyes as they look at you.
You accept the diploma, and go back to your folding chair in the crowd.
You wait an interminable amount of time for everyone else to greet these strangers, to accept their degrees.
You are congratulated as the class of 2014.
You will want to throw your cap, but you know you will not get it back.
No one throws it.
Your family will be waiting just outside the auditorium.
You'll let them wait a little longer as you say your congratulations and well wishes to your friends, the people you have spent the last four years partying with.
You will feel confusingly empty.
You will wonder why there is not real sense of accomplishment.
You will go and meet your family.
You will pose for dozens of photos.
They will take you out for lunch, or maybe dinner, at a nice chain restaurant.
Probably an Applebees.
You will recognize the server from one of your English classes.
She will see the robe and congratulate you again.
You are thankful, but still hollow.
You will order, then eat, your graduation steak.
You will be happy to share in the moment with your family.
You will go home, all of your things you've accumulated in your undergraduate career packed into the trunk of your father's SUV.
You will stare listlessly out the window.
You will wonder what comes next.
You will not figure that out.