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MIT student blogger Erick P. '17

Commencement 2017 by Erick P. '17

it's never too early to start reminiscing

This week on Blogs That Should Have Been Blogged A While Ago: “On Commencement day, I almost got grabbed by police for getting too close to the front while both my friends met Tim Cook outside of the bathroom.”


Commencement. Two months ago. Wow, where does the time go? Summer’s almost over. It’s time for the next year, whether that’s college, senior year, junior year, post-grad, first job, etc, etc. I originally intended to just post some graduation pictures with some Commencement quotes and call it a post. But now I’m going through these photos and it’s making me miss my ’17s. Hope you guys are out there all over the world rocking it. What have you guys been up to? Remember to call home and all that, and visit Boston sometime. All you SF MIT folks and NY MIT folks and international MIT folks and wherever else MIT folks. I bet one of you is in space right now, or at least at NASA. Definitely SpaceX and Tesla. Google and Microsoft no doubt. Hope your startups are going well. Statistically, 90% of startups fail but at MIT that number is more like 50%. I bet another one of you stumbled upon some discovery that’s going to revolutionize the world but you can’t reveal it yet. And good luck to those of you starting grad school in the fall.

Anyways, remember to reminisce, even in something that was just two months ago. That’s how I’m spending today.


Here’s how Commencement went for me. Because I wasn’t graduating this year, I wasn’t given a ticket to Commencement. So I went with my friend in the morning to cheer on my class from the outside as they walked from Kresge to Killian where the ceremonies were held.

First the grad students walked by, then the undergrads. As I saw all the familiar faces I’ve called my friends over the past four years, I started feeling strange. It was like someone was boomboxing Vitamin C – Friends Forever on the sidewalk. At first I didn’t want to go, but after I saw how happy all of my friends were, I knew I wanted to be at the Commencement to support them, graduating or not graduating, ticket or no ticket.


Fortunately, not too long after I was able to get tickets from one of my fraternity brother’s family members. There were no seats left, so they were going to watch the Commencement from one of the many auditoriums livestreaming it.


Can confirm, there were no seats left..

I was fine with this, I didn’t want to sit. I wanted to get to the front.

That’s better. From here, I was able to listen to the speakers. Arolyn Conwill, president of MIT’s Graduate Student Council, and Liana I. ’17, undergraduate class president and the second MIT student I ever met (at my first Admitted Student Gathering).

President Reif then gave a speech cleverly in the format of an mock product launch where the product were the members of Class of the 2017:

“Today, I am the one presiding over the release of a mind-blowing new product. This product is a limited edition — and it’s extremely personalized. In fact, it comes in more than 2,700 varieties. The operating system for our latest product is amazing! It has unmatched processing ability and built-in memory. I know, because we have tested it and retested it, over and over and over! I am very proud to tell you that the product we launch today has an unlimited capacity to augment reality to make a better world.”.


Tim Cook, CEO of some kind of fruit company, was the commencement speaker for our class. He urged us “When you work toward something greater than yourself, you find meaning, you find purpose. So the question I hope you will carry forward from here is, how will you serve humanity?”


When the speeches ended and the graduates came to claim their diplomas, I lost track of my friends as I was taking photos. They had left to go to the restroom. There, my friends ran into Tim Cook walking by the restroom and no one noticed it was him until my friends went up to him. They couldn’t think of what to say, so they just said, “Hey Tim, how’s it going?”



Meanwhile, back outside, I was busy getting lost in the moment.

This is the photo I almost get escorted out for. I got too close to the ropes. Enjoy it, Martin.

Photo credits to Isaac G. ’17

Photo credits to Libby K. ’17

Photo credits to Rosemond D. ’17

Photo credits to Andres A. ’17

Photo credits to Andres A. ’17

Photo credits to Jake H. ’17

Photo credits to Katie M. ’17


Ok, I’ve been listening to Friends Forever on repeat while making this post and it’s making me type sad things, so I’m going to stop now. I’ll see you fellow ’17s at Pi Reunion.