So you’re graduating? Congratulations! Or maybe you haven’t yet, but I’m sure you’re ready to get there. I graduated in December 2018 from the College of Engineering. Leading up to that moment, and even afterward, a swirl of thoughts and emotions went through my head. Here are a few things I learned from the experience that might help you keep your feet on the ground.
Whoever those people are for you, the ones who you know got you through the hardest times and picked you up after a bad day, say thank you to them.
I was very blessed to have my family come to visit me. It is not exactly fun to sit through the ceremony but they did, all to watch me walk the stage. I know, without a doubt, that I could not have made my way through college without my parents being there for me. They were always there with encouragement and wisdom. They never let me down. When I didn’t know what to do, they always had an answer for me, or at least a smile.
Whoever those people are for you, the ones who you know got you through the hardest times and picked you up after a bad day, say thank you to them. Gratitude that is unexpressed is ingratitude. Make sure they know what an important role they played in your big day and share the victory with them. Especially if they make it through the whole ceremony just for your name. That itself is a victory.
If it were possible, graduation day of all days, you might just get tired of hearing, ‘Congratulations’. You may have barely survived that last final and no one knows how close your grades came to failing and you may barely feel alive, but you’ve done something excellent. So accept any and all congratulations. Anything from a pat on the back to a substantial gift is a sign that people are proud of you and you should be proud of yourself. Graduation is a culmination of (at least) four years of hard work to complete a difficult task. Don’t play it off or try to act unworthy; a world-class institution says you’ve earned it. False humility is like lying. Stand tall and try to smile through all the pictures. There will be a lot of pictures.
It’s a really big day. Go all out. Take the folks out and have an absolute blast. That feeling that the end has come and your days of freedom are over is true, so make the last little bit count. Laugh and tell stories and enjoy time with your relatives you never see. Everyone has come to make a big deal out of you. Make sure that you don’t let them down. You can share with them all the best and the worst college had to offer because now it’s over.
Unless you’re going to graduate school.