It is commencement time. Time to commence.
If you are a member of the Class of 2015, Congratulations! You’ve earned the right to wear a funny looking cap and wrinkled gown as you march across a stage to collect what will probably be an empty folder with your school’s name printed on the front of it. Don’t worry. Everybody’s folder is empty. If you’re legit, the piece of paper you’ve worked your behind off to attain will come in the mail in a few weeks, I promise. So for now, just act pleased. That’s all anyone expects.
As a college graduate, you’re about to become a member of two clubs. The alumni association of your college or university (which is optional) and adulthood (which, sadly, isn’t.) Up to now, your job has been to learn as much as you possibly can about things that matter. Once you pack up your last college apartment and set off for your future, your job will be to find something to do with that knowledge so that you can earn enough to keep a roof over your head, food in your fridge, and pay your own cell phone bill. Those are the Big Three. Six months from now, if you took student loans, there will be a fourth. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Because right now, you are preparing to graduate, and that’s good. It’s better than good, actually. It’s marvelous. The strange thing about having marvelous things like graduations to celebrate is that, often, we don’t realize how marvelous those things are at the time. So be proud and be grateful. You deserve to be the first and are required to be the second because no matter who you are or what your circumstances, you didn’t get to this place without other people who were there to support and mentor you. Nobody does.
So, be in the moment. Turn off your phone. Listen to the music and pay attention to the speakers. You are taking part in an experience that many people all over the globe can only dream about. And then when the speaker on the podium says, “Will the Class of 2015 please stand and be recognized” square your shoulders and stand tall. Go and hug your parents. Don’t grumble when your mom wants to take “just one more” picture before you cram that cap and gown back into the bag and set out to find your life.
The world has been waiting a long time for your unique gifts and talents. It can wait one more day.
Because today belongs to you.
(oh, and Ben…..please take your gown out of the bag and hang it up before next Saturday! Love, Mom.)