You just take one foot and you put it in front of the other. And then you do it again. And then again and again. And guess what? Yup, you might have guessed it; you’re walking. We’ve been doing it since we were two. That was probably the last time walking really had much significance. Taking your first steps is a big deal but then after that, it’s just walking. You walk to your car, you walk to classes, you walk from restaurants; you walk a lot, all the time, everyday. But what if I changed the scenery for you. What if you were walking on a stage, in a black gown, with a strange, square, black hat on in hopes of getting a rolled up piece of paper. Sounds kind of funny doesn’t it? But suddenly, walking becomes significant again. Crossing that stage, placing one foot in front of the other, is much more than just a walk. It signifies walking into a different part of your life.
A few months ago, one of my friends said something that stuck with me. She said; “we always think about going to university, but we never think about actually graduating.” Think about the time and effort we put into looking for the right university. The student council meetings you attended, the pamphlets you received and the tours that you went on. Your parents input helped guide you and you and your friends would calculate distances from different prospect universities. We put so much thought into going away to university that when we actually get there, we forget that one day we will have to leave.
Most of you are probably in agreement. Some of you might be thinking hell no, I’ve been thinking about graduating since the moment I set foot on campus. Well, to those people, you might have been thinking about being done with university but not necessarily graduating. Graduating is an incredible accomplishment, a celebration. However, graduating means closing a chapter of your adolescence and stepping into the real world. Stepping into the world of adulting, of responsibility, of jobs and payments.
Going to university is the first step in our lives where we truly receive our independence. This space helps us discover who we want to be.We find our passions, we set goals and we become a version of ourselves that we believe we are. We make friends that become our second family. We also learn our limits – in more than just one way. We change from who we were and what we wanted from when we were in high school and somewhere along the way, we forget that these university years have a time limit.
Graduation marks a time of celebration and recognizing accomplishments. It’s the time that all your hard work, the studying and homework assignments over the past four years gets rewarded. It’s also a time to reminisce over what you have been through over the past four years; the funny times and the sad or hard times that you can now laugh at. It signifies a transition of who we were coming into university and who we are now that we are leaving.
With all the celebration recognizing the grads themselves, it’s easy to forget the people that supported us along the way. Graduation not only celebrates the grads themselves but all the people that have allowed us to become successful in the position that we are fortunate enough to have. It wouldn’t have been possible for us to be the graduating students that we are today without the support from our family, friends and professors.
It is a bittersweet feeling having to say goodbye to everything that we have built for ourselves over the past four years. It’s hard imagining our lives without the people we have gotten used to seeing everyday. To no longer finding the comfort of our routines that we created at our first homes away from home.
Although, at the same time, we get to start a whole new adventure. We can literally do whatever we want. That’s right, anything. There’s no right or wrong answers when we graduate because all that’s left is life. We aren’t held back by grades or classes we didn’t want to take. Whatever we do from here on out, is our decision. This is a time in our lives where we have no commitments. We can travel, we can take a fun job that has nothing to do with our major, go back to school or head into the working world right away. It doesn’t matter, there’s no wrong choice. As long as we are doing what we feel is best for us at the time, the rest will fall into place.
Just as we took those steps to cross the stage, we will begin to walk into our new lives. We will never forget the memories or friends we made but now we are free to test our own horizons.