The Graduate

Posted by SwampyMeadows, Features Contributor,
Monday, December 20 2004

DAYTON (OH) -- For those in my generation, the ultimate rite of passage movie was "The Graduate" which was released in 1967. This flick made Dustin Hoffman a star and everything about the production was extraordinary -- from Mike Nichols' superb direction; to the casting, especially that of Anne Bancroft (Mrs. Mel Brooks) as Mrs. Robinson; to the music by Simon and Garfunkel, which became an integral part of the soundtrack of our lives. Who can forget the haunting opening lyrics to "Sounds of Silence"?

"Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain..
....Still remains
Within the sound of silence."

"The Graduate" chronicles the angst of young Benjamin Braddock as he seeks to find his place, both romantically and occupationally, in his post-college world. Of course, the reason "The Graduate" struck a chord with so many of us back then is that we were all (or were about to be) in the same boat with Benjamin -- graduating and setting off into the vast unknown of self-sufficiency during the restless Viet Nam era.

My favorite scene is when Mr. McGuire, a friend of Ben's parents, tries to give him some advice:

"I just want to say one word to you. Just one word."
"Yes, sir."
"Are you listening?"
"Yes, I am."

Perhaps it was because my hometown was known as "The Plastics Capital of New England" that I chuckled when I first heard that line. It still makes me laugh.

Anyway, I bring this up because on December 18th (32 years after her parents) the Elder Swampette graduated from UD -- Summa Cum Laude, no less. Cristen did so a semester ahead of schedule, thanks to the fact that she took a number of AP courses in HS and also earned credits doing Study Abroad in London one summer. She has set her sights on law school in the fall and has become the recruiting target for a number of them, the letters arriving every day with offers to waive application fees and provide scholarship money. Cristen has already applied to the University of Michigan (which would reunite her with the YS) plus a few other schools, including-ugghh -- UC. She plans to apply to more -- why not, it's free!

I asked Cristen if she was considering the UD Law School and she had a very interesting response that Dr. Dan and company will appreciate. She said that she really enjoyed her undergraduate experience at Dayton and wants to leave UD with nothing but good memories. Everything Cristen has heard about law school indicates that it is a bear and she doesn't want to ruin what has been a great 3½ years. Makes perfect sense to me.

Cristen has always been a doer. In her time at UD, she has competed in Mock Trial and been very active in Phi Alpha Delta, the pre-law fraternity. She first became intrigued by the law while listening to her maternal grandfather's tales of his trial work for Ford and other major corporations. Now she has a chance to follow in his footsteps.

At the end of "The Graduate" Benjamin stands up and fights for what he finally realizes is the one thing he really wants-Mrs. Robinson's daughter, Elaine. Ben has to overcome both of their families, plus a church full of angry people in order to win her.

Cristen, as you prepare for your own battles in the years ahead…with the books, the law and the adult world…know that we are behind you all the way. To paraphrase the poster for "The Graduate:"

"This is Cristen. We aren't worried at all about her future."

That's it "From the Swamp"

Jim Swampy Meadows is Features Contributor of
He can be reached at

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