Graduation: not an end, but a beginning…
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My son Matt graduated from college last week – a bittersweet experience – he’s my youngest child, and he graduated from my alma mater. As he “lets go” – saying good-bye to a routine and friends made over the last four years, he laments that “the best time of his life” is coming to an end. I remember feeling a similar sadness and connection to that special place and time. I also remember the excitement I felt about beginning the next chapter.

This got me thinking, “Looking back, would I say that my college years were the best time of my life?” My immediate reaction was that while I loved the whole college experience, it truly wasn’t the best time of my life. My marriage, my children, my graduate studies and many work situations would rank higher than my undergraduate years.

What college did was to prepare me for a full and satisfying life by opening doors and creating possibilities. I’ve often said that I really became alive during college – learning new things, meeting people and trying new experiences ignited a thirst for learning and an openness to fully embrace whatever opportunities came along.

College is a transformative chapter which sets the foundation for the succeeding chapters of a full life – a pivotal transition from childhood to meaningful adulthood. Beyond the ceremonial graduation exercise, it’s important to take time to celebrate where you’ve been and anticipate where you’re going, so you can live a life of intention and make choices aligned with your goals and values. Some good questions to think about:

Reflect on this experience.

  • How you are different?
  • What do you know now that you didn’t know 4 years ago? How do you think about and approach situations now?
  • What have you learned about yourself, about other people, and about the world? What have you been exposed to that would never have happened if you hadn’t gone to college?

What’s important to you going forward?

  • Who and what do you hold most dear? What is non-negotiable for living your full life?
  • How will you make decisions about your future?
  • How can you stay in a learning mode as you navigate the rest of your life? How will you fully embrace all the opportunities that come your way?

To Matt and all the other graduates out there–buckle up and get ready for the rest of your life – it’s all in front of you waiting to unfold!

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One Comment

  1. What insightful and motivating words which paint a wonderful vision of hope and accomplishments. I am so excited for Matt as he lives his life discovering possibilities which are endless.

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