Sunday, April 22, 2012

The case for walking in graduation

I’ve asked a few students recently who are graduating from community college: “are you walking in graduation?”

Many of the answers are: “no.”

I completely understand this. When I graduated community college I too initially didn’t plan on walking. I kind of figured that since a Bachelor’s degree was my end goal, and students at 4-year colleges didn’t “walk” half-way through their Bachelor’s degree, why should I?

But I ended up walking because I found out I had won the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship a few weeks prior.

And walking in graduation – both for my 2-year and 4-year degree – felt great.

Because in the end, completing community college is a big deal that is worth celebrating. You are one of the few who’ve made it.

And you are worth celebrating.

Invite your family. Take pictures with your friends. Make memories and commit yourself to walking again for your Bachelor’s degree – and maybe even again for your Master’s and Ph.D’s.

Even though you may still have more education to pursue, weird cardboard square hats to don, and aisles to walk, each walk matters. Because each one represents your accomplishment, your completion, and your honoring of the college and the people who helped create your collegiate foundation.

And in the end, graduations symbolize both and end and a beginning. The new beginning is obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s also important to properly say goodbye – to reflect on the people and opportunities that brought you to that very moment.

If you’ve missed out already on applying for graduation and picking up your cap and gown this time around, it’s okay. But find some way to get together with your community college friends and/or family and celebrate this important milestone. It is a big deal. And you’ve earned it.

And for those of you who do walk – embrace the moment, engage fully, and take lots of pictures. Feel free to tag Community College Success in your graduation pictures and/or share them on our Facebook wall. I would love to see your beautiful face in one of those hats, and I know it will inspire others on the page. 

Congratulations to all of you who are graduating this semester. I hope you know the full gravity and beauty of what you have achieved.

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