"So... are you going for Grad Night?"
Such a trivial question, that demands a simple answer, and yet weirdly enough bears unnecessary weight on the answer. Well I can safely say that my answer is no.
Don't immediately take this as a case of sour grapes though. While it's true that I didn't go for the Secondary 4 batch dinner, I do not hold any biased unfounded grudges against the content of the programme. I just simply didn't feel like going, that's all. It's also true that I'm not someone who typically goes for events like this and joins in the inevitable conga line on the dance floor, or fights to get into photos that'd be uploaded onto Facebook later.
There are a few reasons why I don't want to go for this graduation night event. The first is that is SO. DAMN. EXPENSIVE. $85 is ridiculous, and that's already the lowered price! Well some may say that being together with your friends in your most glamorous form while celebrating your triumph over the last 2 years of JC might be priceless, but I personally think it's a little too much. Not all students of RI(JC) are affluent enough to afford to go for such overhyped events.
Another thing is that to some extent, an event like this encourages a popular association between friendship and material wealth. There's pressure to look your best, show off your spending abilities, and stun your audience of peers. The graduation dinner becomes partly a platform for students to leave their mark and gain social status by flaunting dresses and suits. Now even if I do have a decent get-up for the occasion, I find it too over-the-top as a way to bid the past two years farewell.
Besides, there are much cheaper ways to have a gathering of classmates without burning a hole in the wallet. Nothing wrong with having fun barbecue dinners or Christmas parties or chalet overnight stays. It's not the budget that always matters, but rather the memories forged from those experiences. Would you rather blow dollars to participate in an event that confines you into a dining hall and limits you to doing fixed activities, or be given the chance to do more of what you want while spending less?
Even if I were to go because I could afford to, it'd feel pretty uncomfortable there. I'd expect that the general personality of the other students going would be outgoing, maybe even loud, with a tinge of narcissism, and basically the complete opposite of what I am. It might provide a motive for me to change myself for the better in terms of personality, but spending at least $85 to do that is excessive.
...but this is all my own justification for why I don't want to go. I'm not saying all other students in the batch should totally boycott this event in hopes of forcing them to drive down prices way down low. If a student genuinely knows that going for an event like this would be a really memorable experience that'd more than justify the costs, I'm not stopping him/her.
All I'm saying is that there isn't a need to bond together over delicate china and wine glasses, when you can do pretty much the same thing over paper plates and solo cups.