Walk this way

Barbara Finlinson, Staff Writer @bubblestweets

It’s time. Excitement and preparation can be seen all over campus. Graduation is in the air and so is pomp and circumstance. Tis’ the season for square cardboard hats, baggy gowns, tassel turning and extremely long ceremonies.

Take a minute to picture the moment:

You’ll feel great as you walk across the stage, shake hands with people you never met and are handed an empty folder that signifies years of hard work and sacrifice.

Your family will take your picture, give you cards – hopefully the cash holding kind, kiss your cheek and pepper you with advice. Your mom will cry.

You may even be overwhelmed with emotion and shed a few tears. And as you bask in the glorified aura of your fellow classmates you will imagine all your future success. You did it. You stuck it out and became a proud owner of a college degree. That is worth celebrating. You are worth celebrating.

We humans are celebratory in nature. The need for festivities is woven into our very souls.  Put simply, we love to throw parties.

The graduation ceremony isn’t your average party. This is your party. Everyone attending, in essence, is celebrating you and the beginning of a new chapter of your life. So, party. There is definitely reason.

It’s the end of an era; one you will miss and long for, one you’ll tell stories to your children and grandchildren about. The golden years, the good ole days, it only happens once. This is your rite of passage, your celebration of manhood/womanhood. Okay, maybe I’ve gone too far.

Sound a little cheesy? Maybe it is. But now is the time for a little cheese. You worked hard for it. Enjoy it with crackers.

Being there and taking part of the ceremony matters, and not just for you. Don’t be selfish. Your family needs it too. They need closure. They were there through all those years of – insert word that best describes your college experience.

Maybe they supported you financially or emotionally. Maybe they did both. They want to see what their hard work and dedication to you, their graduate, accomplished. Show them it paid off.

If you are like me, a non-traditional student, your children will be there. Best-case scenario, they’ll be cheering you on and partaking of the spirit of dedication and accomplishment that accompanies a college graduation.

Worst-case scenario, they’ll be bored to tears and fighting mad when they realize they have to get up at 6:00 a.m., dress nice and sit through what feels like 15 hours of who-knows-what-because-they-aren’t-listening-anyway-and-have-no-idea-what-is-even-going-on. Someone might even fake sick. But it doesn’t matter. They’ll be there.

After all, you didn’t just do it for you; you did it for them too. You want them to look around, take it all in and think to themselves: “I want this. I’m going to college.”

Somewhere along the way you may just have succeeded in passing along to the next generation your passion for learning and the joy of achievement.  But if nothing else, you taught them that they’ll go where you want them to go and behave in a respectable manner. See, all is not lost. Let’s celebrate.

Let’s celebrate, that is, unless you aren’t walking. If you are one of “those,” take a minute to think about what you will be missing. This is an opportunity you may never have again unless, of course, there is a Master’s Degree or Doctorate in your future.

If that is the case, way to go you and go ahead and stop reading this article now. But for all the rest of you slackers who aren’t walking, I think you’ll live to rue the day you didn’t; or at least you might regret it a little.

As for me, I’m totally there.

I hope to see all of my favorite professors, shake their hands and thank them for their hard work and dedication.

I hope to hug my parents and children and kiss my husband.

I’m bringing tissue too because, let’s be honest, I cry at other people’s graduations. I honestly don’t have a clue how I will react at my own. And while we are on the subject of honesty, let me make another confession. I plan on buying the most amazing pair of stilettos to perfectly accessorize my gown and coordinate with the color of my tassel.

I’m excited to walk. I’m proud to own it.  That’s my degree and I’ll be there to celebrate the hard work and beauty of my achievement.

I’ll see you there.

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