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Author Topic: "When did you graduate?"  (Read 10225 times)

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Bottlecaps

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"When did you graduate?"
« on: June 23, 2015, 07:01:35 PM »
A rather innocent question for some, I guess, right? It's basically a conversation piece around here and people ask it without a second thought. Someone will ask "When did you graduate?" when trying to figure out if they know you from somewhere, or to see if maybe you know their kids or whatnot.

Except, well, it kind of stings for those of us who didn't, and I think it is an interesting assumption to assume that someone did.

I dropped out and a little over a year later, went back and got my GED. I'm not really ashamed of it, but there is a preconceived notion about what a dropout is and I really, really don't think I fit that mold, at least not now - but being put on the spot about what year I graduated leaves me scrambling for an answer that won't embarrass me nor them. I think some people feel embarrassed for asking when they find out I didn't graduate, or maybe, are afraid they've embarrassed me. Like I said, I'm not ashamed of it, but it's not necessarily something that every John, James, and Jane need to know either.

I've taken to saying one of a couple things, depending on how well I know the person or how well I have the potential to get to know them.

1) Telling a fib and using the year I got my GED as my answer. It wouldn't be too far fetched because I dropped out in the spring of 2008 and got my GED in the fall of 2009. I usually reserve this one for people I don't know very well at all and probably won't spend a large amount of time around. It's short and I don't have to explain that I dropped out.

2) Saying, "Well, I would have graduated in 2008, but I dropped out. I got my GED the next year though!" Then trying to find some beandip to cram into their (and my) mouth, lol, to avoid any potential questions about why I dropped out.

The status quo seems to work so far, but it is a rather uncomfortable situation for both them and me sometimes. Most people are polite enough to just say "Oh, OK!" or even "Well good for you!" upon finding out I got a GED, but a there's been a couple of times where someone has asked "Why did you drop out?" or something along those lines, and unless I know the person very, very well, I don't particularly care to go into The History of Bottlecaps: Volume I with them, haha.

I guess basically what I'm asking is, does anyone have a suggestion for a better, and etiquette-friendly, answer that I could give? Or are my current answers about as good as it gets? I'm either stuck between lying (which is reserved for when I have the very least likelihood of being "found out," and also because I hate lying) or telling them something that sometimes opens the door to much more unpleasant questions (when I can't change the subject or divert it, anyway, quickly enough). Or even an etiquette-friendly response to "Why did you drop out?" that's not too off-putting or cold-sounding?
"Some of the most wonderful people are the ones who don't fit into boxes." -Tori Amos


Drunken Housewife

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2015, 07:10:11 PM »
I don't actually think it is lying to just state the year you received your GED if asked when you graduated.  That is the equivalent of graduating, and it is a rare person who is going to take it wrong if they later discovered that you got a GED.  I would just go with that.  Honestly, don't think of it as fibbing.  You're not meaning to deceive someone, just answer their question, which they don't realize has more to it than small talk.

Save the full details for someone who really wants to get to know you and asks something like, "So, how was high school for you?" or someone who remembered you being in their year and says something like, "Did you move away?"
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gollymolly2

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2015, 07:37:40 PM »
I think when people say, "when did you graduate," they mean, "when did you leave school," not, "when did you receive your degree/diploma?" So I'd either answer "2008" or "I was class of 200X".

AnnaJ

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2015, 07:43:47 PM »
Given that getting a GED is not that easy, I agree there's no shame there - I know one person who got her GED and went on to get a doctorate in English and another who became a nurse and is currently finishing up a masters degree.

I would give the year that you would have graduated had you stayed in school - as you say, people are probably trying to figure out if you have a common contact and since you attended almost to the end of your senior year that gives them the context they are seeking. 

Oh Joy

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2015, 07:45:07 PM »
How about something like "I was with the class of YYYY, but I ended up finishing my studies with a different program.  How about you?"

Sharnita

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2015, 07:45:26 PM »
I agree that I was class of _________ seems like the easiest answer

#borecore

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2015, 08:10:13 PM »
For me, I would say, "I was at X High School until 2007." or "I finished school in 2009" because you were done at that point.

I have a college degree and always assume this question means "When did you finish (the last level of school you completed)?" For me, I say I got my bachelor's in 2006 and started grad school a couple of years ago.

If you have the same interpretation, you might say, "I got my GED in 2009," end of story, or "I was done with school in 2007." (With a lighthearted emphasis indicating, "Thank goodness that's behind me!")

shhh its me

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2015, 08:19:25 PM »
  I don't think either "I graduated in 2009." or "class of 2008" is wrong , but pick on answer and stick with it.

NFPwife

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2015, 08:25:32 PM »
  I don't think either "I graduated in 2009." or "class of 2008" is wrong , but pick on answer and stick with it.

Agree. You don't have to offer extra info. Just choose your answer and be consistent.

I find that once you hit a certain age ppl use "When did you graduate?" to try to figure out how old you are.

Wintergreen

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2015, 03:46:09 AM »
I also think that for most situations "year 2009" seems good solution. Especially if it's just general small talk question, I agree that usually it's just to have idea of when you were at school and how old are you and the likes. It might make their guess off a year or two, but it really does not matter as it's so small difference. If it would be case of getting GED 10 years later, I might think differently. As I don't know the culture, I'm not sure if saying "got my GED 2009" would imply for most people that it is something done instead of graduating high school. But if it is, I'd use that and only that in the cases you want to bring up the not actually getting the high school diploma. In most cases I would not go to deeper explanations of dropping out and then doing the GED. Unless it's someone you want to share things or it's necessary professionally.

Margo

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2015, 04:13:54 AM »
I agree that "I left High School in [year]" / "I was class of [year]" or "I completed my GED in [year]" would all be fine.

Or even "Oh, high school was a long time ago"

I think it depends on the context - if it is someone from your home town trying to figure out where they know you from / whether you are likely to have friends in common then 'class of...' may be suitable.

If it seems more like someone trying to work out your age then either 'class of' or 'high school was a long time ago' are fine. Or even "I don't like to think about how many years it's been since I left high school!'

(Is this mostly about people trying to figure out your age / Do you look younger than you are, so peaople might be trying to figure out whether you are still a student?

In a professional setting then 'I got my GED in [year] might be better.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2015, 10:41:39 AM »
I agree that I was class of _________ seems like the easiest answer

This.

In my area this tells people the year you did/would have graduated and helps them identify the others you might have gone to school with. 

It has nothing to do with whether you actually graduated or not - around here it's all about who they know that you might know. 

ladyknight1

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2015, 10:47:09 AM »
I agree that I was class of _________ seems like the easiest answer

This.

In my area this tells people the year you did/would have graduated and helps them identify the others you might have gone to school with. 

It has nothing to do with whether you actually graduated or not - around here it's all about who they know that you might know.

POD. I find this question rather commonplace. My youngest sister and my SIL both left HS. SIL took the GRE at 17 and went to work right away, which was her choice. I work at a university and having a GRE or HS graduation are completely equal for transfer students.
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
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nuit93

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2015, 12:46:18 PM »
I agree that I was class of _________ seems like the easiest answer

This.

In my area this tells people the year you did/would have graduated and helps them identify the others you might have gone to school with. 

It has nothing to do with whether you actually graduated or not - around here it's all about who they know that you might know.

That's been my experience too. 

Technically FH and I 'graduated' HS at the same time (different schools, we didn't know each other then) even though he was actually two years behind me--I did the full four years, he took the GED exam as soon as he was old enough to leave school so he could start taking classes at the local community college.

SamiHami

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Re: "When did you graduate?"
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2015, 12:51:07 PM »
I agree that I was class of _________ seems like the easiest answer

This.

In my area this tells people the year you did/would have graduated and helps them identify the others you might have gone to school with. 

It has nothing to do with whether you actually graduated or not - around here it's all about who they know that you might know.

Parking my POD here. I also received a GED. When asked I just tell people 1982 because that's the year I would have graduated. Like you, I'm not ashamed, but I also don't owe people any explanations, either. If they are just trying to place me in their memory, that's all they need to know. If it's a discussion about academic backgrounds, I might mention the GED. It's irrelevant to me anyway since I later went on to college and graduated with a BS. However, even if I hadn't, I don't feel any shame about it.

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