Archive for Thursday, May 18, 2006

Graduation time to enjoy, prepare for future

May 18, 2006

Somewhere in the middle of the pomp of graduation season comes the circumstance to remember.

I'm reaching the second anniversary of my stroll through the Campanile on Kansas University's Mount Oread. The tradition in full cap and gown meant I had graduated and led me to take on the world with a college degree in hand.

I find this time of tassel-turning and cap-throwing as the perfect opportunity to look back on how I made it through my college career.

Although it seems to be receding rapidly in the rearview mirror of my life, the next major step ---- be it college or elsewhere ---- is growing in the windshields of this year's Eudora High School seniors.

I figure this would be the time to offer some thoughts I've gleaned on the college experience while it's still fresh in my mind.

The first thing I have to say to the senior Cardinals is simple ---- enjoy.

Enjoy everything you possibly can these coming days. Soon your class will be spread to the winds. In another four years it will happen again.

Enjoy the parties and open houses, the memories of the senior trip and one last summer in the heat of Eudora ---- leaky pool and all.

Granted ---- it sounds like I've opened a year-old can of Cream of Valedictorian soup ----but the next four years will go by in a flash.

And for students who go to graduate school, it will go in a flash, but with a larger bill.

Those going to a university will find an opportunity to open their minds wider than the horizon, and those working toward school or just working will learn self-reliance.

To enjoy the college experience most, you need to be flexible. It's OK to switch majors more often than your punk rock sister changes the color of her hair.

It's all right to take an obscure language or learn ballroom dancing. If time's available, even enjoy the grand sociological experiment known as the college coffee shop scene.

The first trick is to find balance, don't worry about taking things slow at first and adding more on as you go through your college career.

Remember, it's up to you to do the best you can at the next level. That means you can order that extra-large pizza at midnight if you want. But it also means you've got to study.

College work goes twice as fast.

It means if you have an opportunity and the will, it's up to you to go on an adventure ---- studying abroad comes to mind first. Technology has made us all world citizens. To add a bit of international experience to your learning experience would pay big dividends later in life.

Saturday's graduation also means something. It means this year's seniors have reached a point where they can go in many directions. It means they have had the support of an entire town to help them complete this stage of their education. It also means ---- no matter what the future holds ----they can be proud.

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