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Archive for June 16th, 2011

Graduation

Graduation happens tonight for two of my three students (boy, do I know how to work myself out of a job). And, as with many ‘formalities’ in our lives, it takes me back … way back!

It has been twenty-four years since I graduated from high school, and twenty-two since I graduated from college with a certificate/diploma in drafting (that I have only used for ten months professionally, and for twenty-two years, designing my dream house).

I vividly remember the excitement of shopping for a dress for prom, our grad song (“Lean on Me”), planning what to do after our graduation ceremony, and looking forward to gifts of money …

In my small town of 1600’ish (at that time), high school graduation was HUGE! People from the community would come to watch the grads enter the school for prom (it was there because, in such a small town, the school had the largest facilities), to ohh and awe at the gowns, the spiffed up guys, and now they come to see what they will arrive in (apparently combine harvesters are not unusual now in that rural village). People from the community would come to the ceremony, like it was a community event … because it was!

University was not the goal of most of my fellow grads, although many did go … for a year (or, in my case, a few months) and a number even graduated. Many did go to college. But getting a job was the main goal for most … in a day and time when ‘you need to have a university degree to succeed’ was preached regularly preached at us. I am still, twenty-four years later, amazed that educated people can think that any one path works for all … obviously they forget that the people who fix their broken cars, unplug their septic systems, and wire that new outlet all do so without an undergrad! But, I digress …

Last nights graduation also took me back a year, to my oldest daughter’s graduation from high school. I still get ‘mamma guilted’ for not shedding a tear at that event (so she thinks 😉 ). To be honest, there weren’t many tears shed around her graduation. Not because I was not proud, but because graduation from high school is so … common today.

And that is a good thing.

But also, for my first born (who works her butt off), school (the academics of it) is not a huge struggle. Now she does well, because she works so hard, but she is an academic. So, for her, graduation was more of a celebration because it marked the beginnings of more study, just in an area she is more interested in … psychology (and it marked the beginnings of her study of us … her family).

For many, though, having society-imposed academic hoops to jump through is the greatest struggle of their life! And for those students, high school graduation (whatever ‘title’ their diploma has … dogwood or evergreen) is their finest moment … so far …

Thankfully, graduation from high school is just a step on the ladder of life … IT IS NOT LIFE itself! High school is just a very small microcosm of of life itself. It is not a predictor of future success (Winston Churchill failed grade 6), it is not the finest moment of life (there are so many that do not come until after high school graduation … like, following your passion, whatever it might be), it is not necessarily the place where people know you best (and I mean classmates, as well as teachers … give it about two to four years, and the light of who really knows you best will be ignited).

For the students I was paid to assist, as well as all others, congratulations … but don’t stop climbing … the peak of the mountain is just barely in view … and it’s all up from here.

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