It’s that time again: graduation season. That time between May and June where supermarkets display “Dads and Grads!” paraphernalia, families make plans, pictures are snapped, and new chapters begin. Beyond “Pomp and Circumstance” or caps and gowns, there are a lot of sentiments and thoughts being shared and reflected on. If you haven’t attended a graduation this year, or even if you have, take a lil’ something from one I’ve recently been to.
At my cousin’s recent UofA graduation, Savannah Guthrie, new co-host of the “Today Show,” former NBC News White House correspondent, and the graduation ceremony speaker, set the tone so I could take in all that was going on there. She had great advice for the graduates, but was also engaging, relaxed, and pleasant, making for a good vibe. As Guthrie told the graduating students to “be afraid” as, “a little bit of fear is good for you, for the simple reason that it leads to over-preparation,” I thought about the role fear has in my life. She continued with, “Believe you might succeed more wildly than you ever imagined.” I thought about my own successes, both achieved and yet to come. Guthrie also advised, “Seek out uncomfortable situations,” so you may work through them to get what you really want, “Don’t settle,” and, “Slow down.” Good points for the graduates to take in, but true words at any stage.
I listened to Guthrie, but as my human brain would have it, my mind wandered in and out and I reflected on the people around me. Young adults, as well as older adults, were marking the end of a chapter. They were celebrating finally being done, whether it was with many proud achievements or just getting by and anxious to get out. Parents were reflecting back when they were in those seats, or admiring how their child was surpassing their own accomplishments at that age. Younger friends looked up to when they might be at their own graduation in the future, and family members smiled with pride taking over as processions went on. And there were those like me: reflecting on what was going on as it translated to my current life. Good advice is good advice, and commencement not only means: “A ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred on graduating students,” it also means beginning and start. We may only have a few graduations to celebrate, but we always have the chance for new beginnings.
Here’s to always starting new, and for the lovely endings to come. Congratulations to the class of 2011, and to all of those celebrating their own successes.
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