A Word to 2015 Graduates

It’s graduation season, and all across the country, members of the Class of 2015 are taking that walk across the stage, beaming with pride and experiencing the thrill of, “I am so glad THAT is over with. Now I can move on to the rest of my life!” Go ahead, grads. Bask in the glow for awhile. You’ve earned it.

We are thrilled for you, Class of 2015!

We are thrilled for you, Class of 2015!

Graduation truly is a momentous occasion, filled with caps and gowns, embarrassing baby pictures, lots of cake, and sentimentality for all of your years of growth and effort. The swirling of hope for the future, which is finally the here-and-now, is in the air. It feels good to take pride in a job well-done. (Don’t worry, we aren’t checking with the dean to see how well your job was actually done. The point now is that it’s over with!)

Meanwhile, parents, commencement speakers, and family friends will be doing their best to sum up their pride in your achievements and all of their wishes for your future in a fifteen minute speech or a scrawl on a Hallmark card. If only it were that easy.

You got your diploma, you’ve earned your degree. Now what? Does true life really start now? Will everything work out well because you followed all of the rules, passed all of the tests, and shook all of the right hands? We don’t know. And neither does anyone else. Irritating, right?

The reality is, this is your journey and it didn’t begin the second you stepped off that stage with a piece of parchment in your hand. You’ve been on it since you got here. There have been twists and turns, and there will continue to be some more. Lots more. But, keep up the effort, work hard and be a success in your chosen career, and try to do some good. You don’t have to save the world, just keep making a difference to someone, no matter how small, every day. Keep in mind this stellar quote from e.e. cummings as you continue on your path, grads. We know you will do just fine. Congratulations.

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“To be nobody but
yourself in a world
which is doing its best day and night to make you like
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”

e.e. cummings

 

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