Xie Xiangyang still remembers his farewell party on the verge of graduating last year. “There were a lot of tears,” recalls the 23-year-old law major from Sun Yat-sen University.
“Graduating is a very emotional experience as you’re about to leave your comfort zone and say goodbye to everything you’re familiar with,” says Xie.
Just like signing up for campus clubs, failing a course, or being rejected by a secret crush, attending a farewell party has long been a campus ritual that marks the end of one’s college life. For most, it’s not about the dinner, but about holding on to the most cherished memories of one’s student life.
For Li Zhenhua, an emergency room doctor at a hospital in Xi’an, this time of year is the peak season for alcohol poisoning.
“Recently, six students were brought here, all from the same farewell party,” Li says.
For partygoers, drinking usually serves as an indicator of their sentiments and emotions. But drinking is not always a pleasant experience.
“I think drinking can spoil the fun,” says Xin Jialin, 22, a management major at the University of International Business and Economics.
Xin remembers her recent farewell party, where heavy drinkers gathered in a group and ignored the others.
“A farewell party’s intention is to look back on the fun times and enjoy karaoke together, but they ruined it,” says Xin.
Making up 重修旧好
Although drinking can be ugly, it sometimes encourages people to say things they usually wouldn’t.
Xu Shengjun, 22, a senior majoring in flight vehicle design and engineering at Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics, organized the farewell party for his class.
Everyone drank a lot, as most of his classmates were men. “I once argued with a classmate during a basketball game. Another time a student complained about his roommates playing computer games all night. We all cleared the air at the party with beer and wine,” says Xu.
Later, Xu wanted to give a speech summing up the past four years, but he became too emotional to speak. His tears told the story instead.
Confessing love 表白爱意
While making up with his buddies is an expression of Xu’s friendship, feelings toward a secret crush are more complicated. Chen Juan, 22, a senior majoring in civil engineering at Southeast University, got a special moment at the farewell party – a student professed his love for her. At the end of the party, a male classmate suddenly brought out a bunch of roses, saying he had had a crush on her for four years.
“I was very touched and burst into tears,” says Chen. “He’s my good friend. We will work in different cities after graduating, so we might not have a relationship in future, but I still cherish this feeling.”
Giving guidance 给予引导
Besides students’ sad feelings of departure, many teachers show their caring side at farewell parties.
“We were all given a lit candle along with a rose by our counselor. He told us that the candle would guide us through the darkness of life and that the rose would remind us that before reaching the beauty of a rose we have to deal with the thorns first,” says Chen Binlun, 22, a senior majoring in English at Yunnan University.
“He told us that in order to succeed in life, you have to cross many hurdles and never give up. When you start to lose hope, look at the candle,” Chen says.