The hairs on my arms are shaking, yet withering deep into my skin as the wind blows on my gown. I look out to see hundreds of students, on this day, and possibly their very last day here at UC Merced, with their caps and gowns. Many are crying while others are just smiling, and I too feel a wave of emotions streaking through my face and into my eyes. The sight of blue and gold, fashionable and funny caps, students taking selfies as we sit across the rows, I decide to close my eyes as I smile, knowing that I finally did it. As I look out in front, I can hear words coming from the stage. Words that are telling us to never give up, to strive for something better. I smile again, and nod. As the words continue on, I get the urge to just stand up and clap my hands over and over again to the sight of hundreds of students and their family members staring at me, but I manage to control myself. The commencement speaker says their final words as we all give them a standing ovation, watching the speaker walk to their seat, following them with our eyes, gazing at them. I look at the speaker, hoping to catch their attention, and if I do, I just wanted to reassure myself that today is real. The speaker looks the other way, as I sit down.
Then, someone begins calling students by each row. I look back up at the stage to see students walking across it, hearing the thundering clap from the grassy plains above us, and those sitting near us. And row after row it went, students shaking hands with others, hugging each other, knowing that they did it, that this was the end of a new journey. Finally, our row was called. I stood up, looked down at the grass and rubbed my hands together blowing into them. I turn to the side to walk down the row, waiting for my name to be called. I smiled and looked out to the cow land farms, the brown grass, spiked fences, and dirt road. I knew this was the last time I would ever get to experience UC Merced.