The graduation ceremony remains a beautiful ritual
The stately Academy building in Utrecht, in the shadow of the Domkerk cathedral, was the place where a friend of mine received his bull. It made me feel melancholy. For it was a long time ago that I was part of that wonderful world. But it also pleased me that I stood in the heart of Utrechts intelligentsia again.

The ceremony took place in the Belle van Zuylen hall. Naturally I was far too early. With tension in the chest, a knot in my stomach and anxiety racing through my head, I walked head-up into the hall. After an infinity of time, my friend entered the hall with his relatives. Always an exciting moment. He stepped towards me, a real gentleman, and presented to me his mother, girlfriend, mother in law and two friends. We sat down. I sat next to his girlfriend, silently.

The esteemed professors walked into the hall. I recognized two of them, from way back when I studied. When their gaze crossed mine, they kindly nodded to me. They still recognize me!, I thought happy and felt one with the intelligentsia. Being naive has such nice moments.

Congratulations and chit-chat conversation
The whole crowd applauded for the last time and we walked out into the Eijkman room for a drink. The fear in my chest awakened again and the knot in my stomach tightened. It was a small but beautiful room with portraits on the walls of our own esteemed Nobel laureates. I got a beer in my hands and we toasted. Everything all right. The tension was manageable, though my head went in a higher gear. Because I did not know anything to say to these unknown relatives. It was a chit-chat conversation; for which I lack any expertise. I really tried my best to join the conversation, but no words came up, no anecdotes, no nothing. Only the inconvenience and anxiety was present.

The burning desire
In the distance I saw all those interesting people around me who were telling fascinating stories, asking each other questions or informing about their intellectual work. All of that I saw, in my mind, and I wanted to be with them. I saw the two professors I knew and hoped they would come to me. They did not. ‘Of course not, stupid. You must do that yourself! “, said my critic loud and clear. But I did not dare. I was glued to the floor.

Wu-wei and the focus on life
I saw myself standing there: safe but frustrated between these friendly people, talking about nothing. And then there arose a smile on my face. ‘Ah, you wannabe intellectual‘, I thought. What can a man long for what he does not have! Always looking forward to the well-known green grass at the neighbours. Wu-wei say the Chinese philosophers – stop trying! Accept what is and do not long for what is not – say the Greek Stoics. It’s better to focus on what you ­can and what you have, right here, right now. Promptly, with a warm smile from my friends mother, I got a second beer in my hand. We toasted on my graduated friend, together.

Share this post! If this post was insightful for you, share it with your loved ones so that they can better understand what you are going through.
Deel dit artikel! Als dit artikel voor jou inzichtelijk was, deel het dan met je omgeving - laten we het samen hebben over mentale gezondheid.

Rogiér Cenin

I am a philosopher, teacher and experience expert in the field of anxiety, PTSD, depression, personality disorders and just life! I am coming from far and would like to share my experiences and thinking with you.

Related Posts

Gerelateerde berichten

Heb je een vraag? Onze professionals en ervaringsdeskundigen staan voor je klaar.

Ask your question to a professional or former client!