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After a handshake at graduation, only memories will tie Buckeyes

To graduate is a subtle thing. Despite the Pomp and Circumstance, dress shoes and gathering of family and friends, the act is as simple as a handshake and a smile. Just as history lasts the blink of an eye and the future stretches on in interminable fashion, so will end my and several hundred other Buckeyes’ tenures at The Ohio State University when we graduate at the end of the quarter.

It is an odd feeling graduating from such a large university. My high school graduating class consisted of fewer than 80 people, all of whom knew each other. The likelihood that I will know the person on either side of me at Autumn Commencement is virtually nil. Although we might not know each other by name, we share a common intrinsic bond: our love for this great institution.

Our majors vary, as do our experiences, but we all share a few of the same memories.

The first memory is the best, as it is the sound of the mail being delivered a few days before high school graduation. You know the sound. I am sure you remember your hands shaking as you held an envelope that read: The Ohio State University. Your heart is in your throat, beating a million beats per second as you realize that your hopes and dreams of being a Buckeye rest within the confines of this unnervingly thin envelope. You look at your parents, who are just as nervous as you — though they’ll never tell you that. They say, “Well, are you going to open it or what?” You open it and tentatively unfold a single piece of paper and see only one word before bursting into a fit of joy. The word: “Congratulations!”

I haven’t jumped that high before or since.

It is a feeling only a Buckeye can know. It is a feeling of immediate belonging to a family of thousands and an induction into a rich and storied history of academic excellence. It immediately makes your once unseemly hatred of “that state up north” justified — not that it needs to be.

The memory of 7:30 a.m. Winter Quarter classes is something I will truly miss. There is something serenely beautiful about this campus in the winter when the snow is gently falling at 7:36 a.m., while you’re running to class — only to find it has been canceled. Oh, the memories!

Our experiences vary, but the mutual experience of dominating Michigan is one we can all brag about. I mean, honestly, it’s like they’re not even trying anymore, not that it would matter. Seeing the Buckeyes storm the field and feeling the ‘Shoe pulse as The White Stripes’ perfect bass groove infects 105,000 people is an experience I hope you can enjoy as a student.

There is one final experience we will all share. After sitting through commencement with a mix of boredom, excitement and nervousness, it will happen. The Best Damn Band In The Land will play the opening chords of “Carmen Ohio,” and a lump will form in your throat.

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