One thing I’ve always liked about Glee is that they kept the high school experience somewhat realistic. The artsy kids (New Directions) get made fun of by the cool kids and their wardrobe looks like it actually comes from stores that high school students can afford to shop at in the real world.
However, this finale ended up being super unrealistic and I know this because I just graduated from college two weeks ago. Before you start saying that college graduation differs from high school graduation, keep in mind that I only graduated from high school four years ago. I remember both just as vividly and neither matched the Glee experience.
Going into this episode, I thought it would make me really emotional. I felt super emotional the weekend of my college graduation because I was leaving a wonderful time in my life and wonderful friends behind for a new adventure in New York City. I thought this episode would make those feelings come rushing back and I would cry buckets of tears. Not so much.
For almost every Glee kid, things tied up nicely. Too nicely since they all knew the direction they were going in after graduation. Quinn heads off to Yale, Puck passes his test and graduates, Mike Chang gets to go to an amazing dance school that I’ve only heard of because of Dance Moms and Mercedes gets a contract to be a back-up singer. Basically the only person who doesn’t know what they are going to do is Kurt because he didn’t get into NYADA — and Rachel did.
It all seems so ridiculous because whether it’s high school or college graduation, things don’t fall that neatly into place. If they did, I would have a magazine job right now instead of sitting in a dusty old house on Staten Island.
The thing about graduations is that nobody tells you that there are a million people just like you, who work just as hard as you and who want the exact same thing as you do. While we can all agree that Rachel Berry has star power and a killer voice, she’s just one girl from one small town. There are a million girls in a million different towns who want to be on Broadway –and who have the talent for it.
Once I walked across the graduation stage and moved to New York (much like Rachel Berry, except I didn’t come to sing), I was crushed that I didn’t start getting interviews immediately after I started applying to jobs. I had to realize that thousands of other girls who majored in journalism because they want to work in magazines are applying for the same jobs as me. So if we don’t see Rachel Berry in school with tons of other amazing voices next season and struggling with the very same realization that I’m experiencing right now, I’m going to be disappointed.
Graduation is supposed to be about leaving your old life behind. It’s supposed to make you think you’ll never see the friends you made over the past four years ever again. This finale episode made me feel like we are going to see ALL of these characters again (because the actors are under contract).
In the week leading up to my college graduation, I came to the realization that I will probably NEVER see any of my friends again. While I chose to move to New York, a lot of them chose to stay in Florida, and the others moved to places that aren’t New York. We aren’t a train ride away like Rachel and Quinn. We are long flights away, flights that can’t be paid for on a recent grad’s salary.
I hope next season we see struggles from the Glee kids who graduated. I always liked how they experienced failure in the first few seasons and I really hope things won’t continue to magically work out for them. That’s not how it should be because that’s not how life is…as I’m quickly finding out.
If Rachel easily gets to be the next Barbara Streisand, then I need to trade in my Old Navy flip flops for Manolos because I’m going to wake up tomorrow as the next Carrie Bradshaw.
Glee missed a wonderful opportunity to present the difficulties of graduation to their audience. Yes, it’s an incredibly exciting time that’s full of new adventures, but it’s also a scary time full of change and uncertainty. Although the show failed to connect with me last night, I hope they choose to use the next season to actually show the characters adjusting to their new life in a realistic way.
I’m still a Glee fan and I still want to be one next season. Don’t let me down Glee!