Become ready

This one is for Kaisa-Sofia who graduated from high school with me and who graduates again today.


In Finnish the word ‘graduate’ is ‘valmistua’. It literally means ‘become ready’. So it’s not like in English where people proceed to another stage or take steps (in Latin: gradus = degree, step).

I remember the point of time when I was the most ready. I was twelve years old and just finished the sixth grade, which in Finland meant the end of elementary school. I sat in the car next to my mom and thought that I was basically an adult.


Needless to say the fall from there was quick and deep.

I got back on my feet in six years. It was when I graduated from the high school that I thought for the last time that I had become ready.

See, from that day on it started to be clearer to me that it may be that I never become ready.

I have started to think of graduation as something of an opposite of becoming ready. It’s because thus far every graduation has marked the moment I have become even more aware of the things I do not know about the subject I graduate from, not to speak of the more essential living skills.

Despite this, some part of me still waits for that – of becoming ready.

Is it because I speak Finnish as my mother tongue and developed that expectation toward graduation? Or is it because despite the language, we all expect that from life and none of us ever gets adjusted to the feeling of not being ready?






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