My new life begins today? How to celebrate it...
May 18, 2007 1:27 PM   Subscribe

I have just finished my last days of graduate school and I am looking for activites, rituals, practices that others might have employed to transition from one life phase to another. Im not looking for anything drastic like throwing out all of my papers and moving to a mountain top but little things that signal change is at hand. Thanks.
posted by Meemer to Religion & Philosophy (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by unknowncommand at 1:38 PM on May 18, 2007

Cutting all your hair off (mine was down to the middle of my back, and I'm a guy, for what that's worth).
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:44 PM on May 18, 2007

Lots of ideas in this thread
posted by junkbox at 1:47 PM on May 18, 2007

The time honored and tested tradition - booze (as in going to Vegas, Barcelona etc)
posted by Country Dick Montana at 1:52 PM on May 18, 2007

If it's useful, the word for the period you're currently in is "liminal." Not sure why you plugged this question into "religion & philosophy," but if you're looking for "religion & philosophy" answers, most of the key liminal moments of most of the major world religious happened on a retreat of some sort. Siddhartha, Abraham, Jesus, Muhammad. All had profound moments of inspiration (or delusion, depending on your thoughts about the specific moment) while away from the bustle and concerns of the world.

Most people these days, though, just go to a bar and get faced. Congratulations!
posted by Alt F4 at 1:53 PM on May 18, 2007 [2 favorites]

And, I know, you said "no mountaintops." Retreat != mountaintop.
posted by Alt F4 at 1:55 PM on May 18, 2007

walking out on your job
posted by white light at 1:56 PM on May 18, 2007

unprotected sex
posted by found missing at 1:58 PM on May 18, 2007

I'm right there with ya. I have the big ceremony thing on Sunday, but that's not really my style.

I cleaned out my home office and backed up all my school related files to disk.
I bought a book that has nothing to do with my field of study (since now I have time to read non-academic stuff).
I've always wanted to delve into Web design, so I bought a domain name and I'm starting to tinker with the site.

I'm also thinking of buying myself something nice, like a multimedia player or something like that.
posted by desjardins at 2:12 PM on May 18, 2007

Spend a day doing all of your absolute favorite things. Don't do anything mundane unless it's something you really enjoy.
posted by nekton at 2:14 PM on May 18, 2007

Best answer: Invent your own ceremony - find some snippets of relevant prose or poetry to read aloud, and have a sacrificial burning your least-favorite textbook. Invite your fellow graduates.

Maybe write down a plan for what you want your life to look like in 5/10/15 years, and stash it someplace safe?

Make a time capsule? Ugh, this is getting cheesy.

Buy a nice suit for interviews.
posted by vytae at 2:16 PM on May 18, 2007

- Consume massive amounts of x, y, or z. (Coffee, booze, mangos, what have you.)
- Revisit old haunts, and find they look different.
- Trip to goodwill/salvation army etc, to get rid of stuff.
- Send a "hey I finished graduate school" email to all those people you forget to talk to, but wish you did more often.
- Gorge on"fluffy" fiction (Ok, this is more what I'll do when I'm done.)
- Go on a trip. Send postcards.
- Buy "work clothes", ditch "gradschool clothes"
posted by ejaned8 at 2:50 PM on May 18, 2007

I'd vote for a camping trip somewhere ridiculously cool, & burn something page by page (tear each page out, look at it, throw it in).
posted by devilsbrigade at 3:04 PM on May 18, 2007

I've walked labyrinths in the past. as a kind of (The ones without walls)
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:13 PM on May 18, 2007

clean out your place (even move!) and take a big trip.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:28 PM on May 18, 2007

drinking binge, what better way to kill a summer?
posted by Max Power at 4:42 PM on May 18, 2007

About 2 years before I graduated college, I made my first *ever* batch of homebrew, in this case an orange blossom mead. I racked it 2 or 4 times, then left it in the carboy under the counter in a dark corner and forgot about it (after about 6 months of lusting.)

About 20 days before my party, I pulled it out and bottled. 1/2 of the bottles I added corn sugar to (natural carbonation) and 1/2 I left as-was. Mind you, I'd made plenty of other batches in the mean time.

The day before the party I iced 1/2 of each 1/2, and left them there. After graduation (which I didn't actually *go* to, blah), we broke out the bottles all champagne like and drank the finest nectar I've ever consumed in my life--both because it was made with my hands, and consumed with happiness in the company of my dearest friends and family.

Of course, you're only missing about 2 years worth of time to do this. Alternatively, if you have 10-14 days, make some beer. :)
posted by TomMelee at 6:58 PM on May 18, 2007

I loved the idea from the related New Years' thread about throwing out all your old underwear and buying new stuff. I'm so doing that this year.
posted by web-goddess at 11:57 PM on May 18, 2007

Nail your thesis to the nearest wooden door. Nine inch iron spike if you can find it.
posted by polyglot at 11:58 PM on May 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Change your name. Or at least start using it differently. Start using your middle name with your friends, or in business. Start signing your name a different way. Make sure to get the new one on file with the people who will check it when you vote. Heck, learn a new handwriting if you want—I learned and am delighted with this one.

Change your clothing. Buy new stuff, burn old stuff. Whether it's a transformation of your whole wardrobe, or just a couple items that signify, to you, 'new life phase', so long as it's different.

Take a walkthrough of campus, on some route that's meaningful to you. Alone. Settle your mind upon parting with each part as you pass it.

Make a new recipe. In fact, make a new recipe every day for a week. Or make something special and share it. For a recent life transition of my own, I made three delicious and complementary kinds of ice cream (recipes) and invited my friends and family members to an I'm-leaving-town open house in my student apartment.

Well, that's the four things you always see in initiations: Names, clothing, journeys, and a symbolic feast. The rest of this post is just some miscellaneous add-on ideas.

If you can, you might grow a moustache or beard. If you have one already, shave it off.

If you can, travel. A long journey with interesting things to do, perhaps to a place you've never been. This will serve as a signpost in your memory.

Write lists of the things you will miss, and the things you won't, about the lifestyle you are ending. Keep them out in the open so you can add to them often. At some point, when they are good enough, type them up nicely and put a paper copy somewhere safe.

Report on the experience. Whether it's to a live audience, informally on the phone to your mom or your best friend, or purely mentally, put forth a summary of what it all was.

Invite friends over who are also graduating. Put on symbolic music, crank it, and all sing at the top of your lungs till your voices blow out. If you're a swing-era jazz person, try 'There'll Be Some Changes Made':
There's a change in the weather, there's a change in the sea,
So from now on there'll be a change in me.
My walk will be be different, my talk, and my name;
Nothing about me's going to be the same.
I'm gonna change my long tall one for a little short 'n fat,
I'm gonna change my number where I'm stopping at.
Nobody wants you when you're old and gray;
There's gonna be some changes made today,
There'll be some changes made.
If you're not a swing-era jazz person, look into
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it,
And I feel fine.
posted by eritain at 3:42 AM on May 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

Create your own ritual. Bike across the country. Strip down naked and jump into a frigid lake. Something out-of-the-ordinary or very special that you will remember. After I cycled across Canada last year, I jumped into the harbour in St. John's, Newfoundland, because I knew that the feeling of being absolutely frigid in murky water would be something I would take away with me forever. Well, I haven't forgotten it yet. ;)
posted by perpetualstroll at 9:09 AM on May 19, 2007

First thing I did after my final O-Level/SPM exam was to gather up all my schoolbooks and put them into massive boxes, and then donate the whole lot. (Soon after, I donated a lot of my childhood books too.) Perhaps you can do the same with your old possessions?
posted by divabat at 2:39 AM on May 28, 2007

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