Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pomp and Circumstance

It is that time of year when graduations are happening at high schools and universities nationwide. Our son graduates next year at this time and Sarah graduated 2 years ago this June.

Graduation is such an exciting time whatever the level. When you're leaving high school, it usually is a sort of good riddance kind of thing. (At least it was for most of the folks I know.) The teen years in school are hard and while I have some great memories from high school, there were only a handful of people I cared about after I left. As a result, class reunions are not terribly my thing. I'd rather get together with four high school friends than go back and relive half the graduating class. Ugh.
Me and my cousin Joanie

The beauty of high school graduation is that you are leaving the environment of "have to" and entering the college environment of "want to." The difference is huge. My freshman year of college, I can remember thinking "You mean, I only have to take three classes? Sweet!" Plus, I went to a university of about 30,000 people, which meant I could become essentially invisible. New environment, new friends, new freedoms, what's not to like?

When it comes to college graduation, that is an exciting time as well. You come out at 22 years old (give or take) and have your whole life ahead of you. Because I finished my college career in the middle of the year (after winter quarter), I opted to not go through with my ceremony. I had my diploma mailed to me. That is one of my few regrets in my life - not walking across the stage. (I know, it's totally dumb, selfish, insignificant, etc., but hey...) Had I to do it over, I would take the 5 minutes of recognition for my almost six years of effort.
Sister Pat, Jack, Mom

College/Vocational school graduation is the start of everything else in your life. Many of us met our significant others in college. Others found their passion - I know I did, the minute I took my first Cartography 101 class, I was hooked. Our schooling teaches us how to learn and launches us into our careers.

And so as you watch your kids walk across the stage - at whatever level  in the coming weeks think back to how excited and, frankly, how frightened you were at this next phase of life. They call it commencement for a reason, and next year it will hit our family again.

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