Forking out the cash to graduate

Rick Lowe

I stopped by Gradfest earlier and stood there perusing the sign outside the room for a minute or two before someone just inside the door ushered me in and had me sit down at a computer to take a survey (half of the questions on it didn’t even apply to me). Then I went over to the “Dean of Students” desk and prepared to get my tickets, but was told that until I purchase my cap ‘n gown, I can’t get tickets.

Now see… I walked in there knowing that a cap and gown for a Bachelor’s recipient ran $31.50, and unfortunately didn’t bring that much money in with me. I didn’t see anything that offered a rental option beforehand either, but… you know, just hear me out: I’ve graduated before, so it’s not like I’m being culture-shocked into this.

I mean, where else am I going to wear it? This is Prom Queen crap here—forking over an (in my opinion) obscene amount of money for something that I’m going to wear one time in my entire life. No really: think about any reason you might re-wear your cap ‘n gown after graduation. Now stop thinking about it, because it’s goin’ in your closet and it’s never comin’ out. Don’t lie.

I don’t know… am I being a cheapskate? I don’t think I am. Think about it: in six months I’m going to start giving the university every cent to my name, and then some. GV’s already getting it all anyway, so why bother to gouge me for even more? Am I incorrect in assuming that this university is profitable, that the revenues from tuition, campus dining and living, textbook sales, donations, used textbook steal-backs I MEAN buy-backs… basically, isn’t GV’s budget in a surplus each year? I guess what I’m asking is this: why are we required to pay for our graduation gowns? Why can’t we just rent them? Don’t give me that line about “borrowing” or using an old gown, either—what if your school colors didn’t involve blue? What if it’s locked in storage somewhere? What if there was a house fire? What if you put on fifty pounds since high school? What if you’re a non-traditional who didn’t finish high school (it happens)?

Graduation’s great and all, but get past all the hype and the smiles and people telling you how proud they are, past the whole degree thing. It’s one thing when I plunk down roughly $40 on a new chair, a piece of furniture that I’ll sit on very often, because I do it by choice and I’m going to get my money’s worth out of it (it was a graduation gift to myself). It’s another thing entirely to fork over $30 for something that I’m going to use one time to parade myself for less than two minutes across a stage. I griped about it on Facebook and a friend of mine said that one day, my kids might want to see it. Forgive me friend, and I mean no offense, but that’s a pretty lousy excuse for that price tag.

Am I complaining about something that I shouldn’t or don’t need to be complaining about, or are there other people out there who are also none too happy about the price tag? Tell you what: I’d be perfectly fine with renting the thing for the day and bringing it back ASAP: a one time lump sum of anywhere between $5-10, a one time usage. Am I making sense? Would that put you in the red, GV? Because if it wouldn’t, then I don’t see why it’s not a reality.

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