Valdosta Daily Times

May 19, 2013

Thoughts on graduation

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — Graduation ceremonies reflect how life marches on. For the students receiving their diplomas and degrees, graduation is a culmination of the majority of their lives’ work.

For adults attending a ceremony, graduations mark the years, of how quickly time passes: How can so-and-so already be graduating high school or college?

She was just riding bicycles and playing with dolls. How can 10, 20, 30, 40 years have already passed since my graduation? Where has the time gone?

With a few area graduations behind us and more ahead, we thought we’d prepare a few thoughts from past graduates for graduating classes of 2013.

• Time passes quickly. Though it doesn’t sound possible now, before you know it, you will be returning for your 20th class reunion. Choose how you spend the next 20 years wisely.

• Be ready for a multitude of adventures, experiences and mistakes. Adventures shape experiences and some experiences will be mistakes. Learn from them all. Seek adventure, remember the experiences, and forgive yourself the mistakes.

• There are no schedules. It is never too late to start something new or to begin again. But remember, too, some things are more difficult to start or return to when you have the responsibilities of children, a mortgage and numerous other bills to pay.

• Always be a student in life. Pursue interests no matter your age. Lessons don’t end because school is finished and neither should the pursuit of learning.

• As the next few years pass, you may be surprised at how much your parents’ advice actually makes sense.

• In work, find something you love and do it well. You may not become monetarily wealthy, but you may make a living at it and be happier for it.

• Do not be afraid to dream big and pursue these dreams. However, find some simple pleasures in life. Simple pleasures can be anything from a hot bath to clean socks to a good night’s sleep to a chocolate bar covered in peanut butter. Sometimes, big dreams have a tendency to disappoint. Simple pleasures are more reliable.

• Make plans even though plans often fall apart. Still, the better you plan, the more you will be prepared when things do fall apart.

• Set goals but enjoy the trip in attaining those goals.

• Don’t be a label. Think for yourself.

• If you find yourself moving from town to town, thinking there is nothing to do in any of the towns, take a look at your own life instead of criticizing the town.

• Roam the earth or stay home. Either way, with an open mind and open eyes, the world will come to you.

• Know yourself but be ready for change.

• And everything changes: From your looks to your situation to your relationships to your job, everything.

• Make choices you will not regret. And when you do make some regretful choices still don’t regret them. Once something has passed, it has happened. Regretting something won’t change it. Think of regret as recognition to help you avoid repeating a situation or action in the future.

• Take a moment to appreciate your achievement. You have graduated! Congratulations!