Just not worth it (to me)

I have recently received a formal invitation to a graduation ceremony for the current year’s CGA designation recipients. While I would like to get my official degree, I have decided not to go.

The main reason I’m not going is because I dislike most formal ceremonies. I didn’t like sitting in wait for my highschool diploma, my university graduation was more than tedious (waiting for dozens and dozens of people to be announced so I could walk across a stage and meet a dignitary I didn’t recognize is not my idea of a good afternoon spent). I went to both of these ceremonies for my parents sake – they seemed very excited to see me receive my previous two pieces of paper. This ceremony, they are both interested in, but I don’t feel as beholden to them at age 33 as I did at age 23, when I got a degree in Economics.

If there was anyone I would go through this ceremony for, it would be my wife. She’s “all in” for going, but that’s mostly because it’s a chance to dress up and go out….and we can do that all by ourselves without the hundreds of other people.

Added to the general dislike of this type of ceremony is the cost of going, which would be about $500 – between hotels, clothes, travel, and dinner. $500 is about what my wife and I would spend on restaurant dinners (which is a major source of our entertainment) in a year. I just don’t see the value in it. The cost by itself is marginal – it wouldn’t make or break my decision, it just doesn’t add any extra enjoyment to the evening.

People have told me that I will regret my decision, that the ceremony is a “once in a lifetime” event that I won’t want to miss. Having lived with myself for 33 years now, I think I know what I will and will not regret – this happens to be of the latter.

From an Economic perspective, I would gain much more utility from a quiet evening with my wife (where she could dress up, which she likes to do sometimes) than taking part in a ceremony with hundreds of other people. I can celebrate attaining my designation with the person most affected by the hundreds of hours of studying I carried out.

I’ve been able to officially use the designation since June of this year, so nothing really changes in my life, I just prefer to celebrate in my own fashion rather than having the method (and to a certain extent price) of the evening dictated.

Maybe this is just my weird, introverted way at looking at this situation, but what would you do in my shoes?

12 thoughts on “Just not worth it (to me)”

  1. I’ve caved to my parents on this. When I received my PhD I had no interest in going to the ceremony, but they wanted to see me in my gown and birretum, so I did. If I should ever get another degree or designation – I am not caving for anyone!

  2. Dave, hooray for you going against the stream.

    For some reason, crowds and noise signifies we’re part of a group and we belong.

    Was reading that the football stadium in Kansas City is the loudest of all. Just think how many in Kansas are so proud of that designation.

    We have a friend that might die soon. I told my wife I don’t see why I have to go to his funeral when he won’t be going to mine.

  3. I didn’t go to either my undergrad or grad degree ceremonies. I paid for my own education so I didn’t feel I owed it to anyone (aside from my supervisor, who didn’t really care for this impersonal formality either) to sit around for exactly the tediousness you wrote about. No regrets whatsoever. It sounds like it’s up to you and your wife, how much the ceremony means to you.

  4. I went to my high school graduation because I really didn’t have a choice. I skipped my Undergrad graduation because no one could make me and I planned to have moved on by then. I’m thinking I will go to my Master’s Grad though because my grandmother really loves to see her grandkids graduate and because by that time I’ll likely know all of my class mates and professors by both name and face so it will actually be a celebration among comrades.

  5. Didn’t attend my CGA ceremony either, and 21 years later still could care less about it. I see the pictures each year and not a single pang of regret. Ceremonies have little meaning for me, as do most holidays.

    Congrats on obtaining your designation Dave! That’s the most important part. And they will mail you the certificate, which you might chose to frame and shove in a closet. Well that’s where mine are anyhow.

  6. “..$500 is about what my wife and I would spend on restaurant dinner ”
    I was gobsmacked that this is all you spend in a year. I spend that in 3 months easy.

  7. I went to my high school graduation and my best friend’s high school graduation a year later … both were rather special to me as this was a major transition/milestone in our lives. When I finally earned my Bachelor’s degree after a few hiccups along the way, I had absolutely zero interest in the official ceremony … and still no regrets for not attending. Going from a class size of a couple hundred to a class size of thousands didn’t really give me a sense of community though … I was proud of my accomplishment but I didn’t feel the need to participate in a scripted pageant beyond the general exit to stage left after which the diploma was conveniently delivered to my home without any fanfare (but eventually framed and hung above my bed as a constant reminder).

  8. When I retired (resigned) from my job 5 years ago, I declined to have a farewell luncheon because I just about never went to anyone else’s. Instead, my one friend/coworker I often went to lunch with took me out to lunch. Then, to my surprise, the rest of the division gave me some money they would have spent on my luncheon. It was about $160 cash. Saved me a trip to the ATM lol!

  9. Good for you – no reason to spend money on something that has no value to you. Take your wife out to a nice dinner just the two of you if you want to celebrate!

  10. I will trust that you are the expert on your own life. I might be inclined to go to that sort of event if it was free, or almost free. But for the price you mentioned, I think it’s overblown. Your blog indicates to me that you are more on the ball than most people about strategic thinking, so I think that you’d be better off to be true to yourself.

  11. I’ll go the other way on this one – it’s only $500, it’s one night, and you’ll meet people who share at least a few interests. Might make a career contact who can help you later. I won’t say it’s a once in a lifetime thing or you’ll regret it your whole life, but then again it’s not the worst thing to do something outside of your comfort zone either.

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