Graduation Ceremonies are Overrated
Last night, Sir Frances Drake High had it’s drive-in Graduation Ceremony, like many high schools and colleges across the nation. I honked and waved and cried as I drove by on my way to get gas and groceries. Houses and businesses all along my route had the green and white of our local Pirates hanging up and blowing in the considerable wind in celebration.
Do I feel bad for them? No, I don’t.
They are living and celebrating and being challenged at exactly the right moment. And, I believe they are ready. Steeped in our mistakes and confusion, they are fresh for the fight and full of ideas and beliefs and idealism to carry them through. May they make vast improvements on what we started. Do you remember your high school graduation? Do you remember your optimism and hope?
I have walked the line 3 times. And it’s easy for me to say that the ceremony is overrated. Why?
- Do you remember even 1 speaker’s name from your high school or college graduation? What did they say? What wisdom did you carry forward from their speech?
Or, did you sneak in some rum in a Pepsi can, were you staring at some girl or boy ahead of you, daydreaming about how awesome being an adult was going to be, anxious to get it all over so you could party with your friends?
- Graduation is such a momentous moment of upheaval and transformation. Your whole life is focused on that one moment. And, it’s just another day.
The reality is, between exams, working, sports, moving plans, maybe college, planning the celebration, applying for jobs, final papers and other requirements, saying all your goodbyes………. you’re so overwhelmed and exhausted, you may be fighting to stay awake and focused, and it’s torture to sit there in the sometimes 90 degrees and 90% humidity when you have a million other things you need to do.
- And, it’s so anti-climatic. The earth didn’t move, you’re still the same person, and you have to wait to get your diploma in the mail. It was 4 months before I got mine for my MBA.
What is Graduation good for?
- Photo-ops. Mad, glorious, outrageous photo-ops! They will last a lifetime and still make you smile when your 80. Take all the photos you can. Hire someone.
- A Huge sigh of relief. Completion. Accomplishment. A bookend. A Rite of Passage. Take all the time you need to savor that. All summer. A lifetime. Education is a privilege to some. Savor, savor, savor. What does Graduation mean to you? Think about that. What does it mean? I was the 1st generation in my paternal family to graduate from a 4-year college and get an advanced degree. Lots of hopes and dreams there. I paid for it myself. That’s huge. I worked all the way through high school, undergrad, post-baccalaureate, and my MBA. It’s taken me years to realize how big all of that is.
- Good-byes. Some of those relationships will move forward with you, and some will not. And, that’s OK. You grew, you learned, you had some fun, or some challenges, and things ran their course. Say goodbye to the person you were when you started, too. That part of your life, that person, is gone. That’s not who you are right now. Think about that. Who are you now? Define that with intention. Savor what you gained. Very little of the really good stuff was learned between the covers of a book. The school of hard knocks is a far better life skills teacher. Celebrate every lesson no matter where it came from.
There are personalities far more influential than myself that have done their best to inspire you, Class of 2020. Former President Barak Obama, Beyonce, and more. You can find them here. Wow. Best of Luck. I’m banking on you to do a better job than I did to figure things out. To move the needle on all the things that just aren’t working right now. How can I support you?
What you will remember most is the unusual, unique circumstances of this critical time in the history of mankind. This is a global rite of passage and here you are in the thick of it. The creativity and playfulness we have seen to ensure you have a memorable graduation gives me hope. Drive-by and online celebrations, super fun and creative signs, videos, etc.
My friend Duncan Arthur Frost in his graduation regalia. Congrats! Duncan!
Take all the creativity forward with you. All our hopes and dreams are traveling with you. We want you to succeed beyond all our wildest expectations. We need you to succeed and show others the way. There is so much opportunity. Go get it! Make things happen!
All the Best Class of 2020! Thank you in advance!
As the ‘Introverts Guide to LinkedIn’ Angela Dunz is working to transform awkward self-promotion into an act of service. She works with Coaches, Consultants, and Entrepreneurs, helping them build their businesses on LinkedIn. You can get more information about her monthly 10 Day LinkedIn Challenge here. Or, sign up for a 30-minute Initial Consultation here. She is a Speaker, Author, Coach, Trainer and Social Media Manager and a former High School Rodeo Champion. Her book, Conversations with Skunks, is due to be published this fall.