A Poetic Reflection upon Graduation | Dr. Derek Porter


“Apply to the dream career, we’ve earned the right
To emerge with a punctilious sunrise, of renewed vigor
The world has waited, desperately seeking our light
So let it shine enduringly bright
We’ll wait

Each year, commencement offers us the profound opportunity to celebrate corporately. The Class of 2022 is unique because many of its members started their degree programs prior to the unforeseeable events that have shaped our socio-political discourse. Yet with endurance and affinity, the Class of 2022 met the moment. Class of 2022, welcome to the Tribe.

The Class of 2022 must be remembered 

For our patience

We have waited

We waded, through the amniotic birth pangs of our dreams, 

Yet they survive

Before we could talk, we knew

Of golden rhapsody

Hewn from time passed in pastures green

Our Tribe, the strength

In our knuckles

We bore this burden

Refusing to buckle

By belonging to one another

We began as clipped eagles, a grounded convocation

Boxed in by Covidic isolation

As weeks and months breezed brutally by,

Against unforeseeable headwinds, we learned how to fly, together

Shaken by current events beyond our control

With endurance, we rose above the storm

Soaring, together

From the ground, we appeared as distant stars 

A constellation, hidden in the heavens

Yet, it was then,

As the world blinked its forty winks

In the dim recesses, where knowledge is formed

We ventured

In the Swem catacombs, where masks were worn


We read

We waited

We waded through pools of papers

We have waited on Amazon Prime packages delayed

We have waited through uncanny weather

We have worked through scheduled breaks

When others rushed, we waited

They sparkled 

While we sat at our desks

They serenaded 

While we searched databases

We waded through waters of worry

Took our time in the tempest of testing

We argued our oral defenses – successfully


With poise, to prove we were good enough,

& The Tribe welcomes us!

Yet we continue waiting… 

Waiting for who?

Are you waiting for me?

Am I waiting on you?

Yes, we have waded together

Through late nights, sacrificing sleep

Through daylight, relinquishing rhythms with family, friends, fun… vacations missed

All of this

Has brought us to this even larger waiting room

Where we must wait to realize 

What comes next for you

Yet this is what we do

Class of 2022

We are expertly imperturbable without becoming resigned

We are surefooted and composed, and this is by design

We have been trained and specialized,

This is why we are quite refined

But deadlines, blah who needs ‘em

This is our time, take it

And shine!

Apply to the dream career, we’ve earned the right

To emerge with a punctilious sunrise

Of renewed vigor

The world has waited

Desperately seeking our light

So let it shine enduringly bright

We’ll wait



Dr. Derek Porter is a graduating member of W&M’s Class of 2022 earning a doctorate in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program. A versatile licensed teacher with 10 years of experience, he is creating knowledge on effective teacher professional development as a pathway to student success. Further Dr. Porter launched Tutor Oasis, a digital academic support service, in 2020 to combat the inequitable impact of COVID-19.