So, apparently I’ve graduated from college. No seriously…they’re
going to give me a diploma and everything.

Don’t worry, I’m just as surprised as you are.

Someone clearly wasn’t paying attention, but who cares, its to my benefit. Most
people get really excited about graduating from college. They plan
post-graduation parties and trips. They get together with friends and
colleagues one last time to reminisce and talk about the future. You can tell
someone is graduating because they walk around with a funny looking post-coital
smile on their face for a few weeks before and after the ceremony. They also
tend to have this weird excitement in their voice.

Can’t you tell how excited I am?

I don’t really do any of that. Actually, whenever I graduate from something
(college, high school, the D.A.R.E. program in elementary school, cub scouts) I
spend all my time thinking about all the instances of graduation in pop
culture. Specifically all the songs (mostly sappy ones) that have come and gone
over the years; but when you hear them always signify those moments when you
were growing up and moving on. Or, in my case, just moving on because I
adamantly refuse to grow up.

Eve 6 “Here’s to the

This is a high school or college graduation song. It’s about
reliving great parties with friends one more time. Hey, even the music video is
one big chill house party.

Vitamin C “Graduation
(Friends Forever)”

Don’t lie, you remember this song. That’s right, everyone
under the age of 23 or so is currently cringing (but secretly smiling) at the
thought of this pop tune from the late 90s that swept through every middle school
and high school in the nation. As annoying as this song was — about as
annoying as all those groups of girls that used to drive around belting it out
in their cars (THIS IS OUR SONG!!!!!) – It definitely captures the spirit of
graduating and leaving your friends behind. Listening to it now, it definitely
seems like it’s a graduation song for the younger, junior high school crowd.
Kind of like the training song for the “Here’s to the Nights” and “Times of
Your Life” that will come along later. And speaking of which…

Green Day “Time of
Your Life”

Probably the most famous and popular graduation song this
side of “pomp and circumstance”. It’s played at the end of every big event.
Sororities, frats, and camps all use “I hope you had the time of your life” as
their slogans for end of the year parties; and it’s probably the most popular
name for Facebook photo albums that have anything to do with a graduation. It’s
the gold standard, everyone knows the lyrics and everyone sings along. If you’re
rocking a graduation get together…this needs to be the ending track on the
party mix. I think it’s the 28th amendment or something.

Eagle Eye Cherry “Save

Very much along the lines of Eve 6, this half love ballad
doesn’t mention school specifically, but the idea of leaving people behind is
still there; and isn’t that part of every graduation? The message is this. Go
out, get some good food and drink and enjoy your last night together. Because
tomorrow…life gets REAL (almost as real as the boat that I’m on).

Asher Roth “I Love

Mark my words. This is the new school graduation song. Let’s
just hope it has more staying power than Vitamin C.

Third Eye Blind “Graduate”

It might have something to do with them being a favorite
band of mine, or that I saw them in concert a little over a week ago; but this
is the song on my playlist the most right now. It’s not the soft, calm
sentimental anthem that Eve 6 put together. Or even the melancholy hopeful
retrospective that Green Day is famous for. It’s a little more vibrant and
emotional; almost angry.

Check out the lyrics and it doesn’t even seem like it’s a song
about graduating school. Because it’s not. Its about gradating life, graduating
from one part to another. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. For me,
graduation has nothing to do with a school or a diploma. It has nothing to do
with the classes you took or the robes you’re wearing. It’s another checkpoint
on the road of life.  The important thing
about graduations is that you realize that life is about to change. That you
ready yourself to adapt to whatever it is that comes next. Very rarely are we
given a chance to see the freight train of life coming straight at us. Most of
the time we just react and hope that we dodge away; or grab hold in time.  So when that train does decide to blow its
whistle in warning once or twice…make sure you’re paying attention.

Take the headphones out of your ears and stop listening to Vitamin
C, or else you might not hear it.

As we go on

We remember

All the times we

Had together

And as our lives change

From whatever

We will still be

Friends Forever