(MCT) — Just as May reaps flowers, courtesy of April showers, May also is the time of year when colleges and universities graduate students into the real world. The calendar is literally dotted with commencement exercises beginning in early May and stretching past Memorial Day.
For many, the next few weekends will be rushed as families prepare for the end of the school year, while fitting in cookouts, Mother’s Day and getting a jump on summer gardens. But for the seniors at our universities and community colleges, those days, while filled with commencement ceremonies and graduation parties, also are the beginning of adult life.
The festivities started last weekend when Eastern Illinois University held commencement exercises. What Eastern graduates heard from one of the speakers was typical of the counsel they have been receiving over the past few weeks. “Our education at Eastern isn’t just in science, math, teaching, art, music, but a foundation of learning upon which you’ll learn, process, analyze and move forward,” Dr. Gordon Grado, a 1974 Eastern graduate, told the audience.
For the students, the events surrounding commencement are meaningful. They have completed their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees or gained a certificate, and they can move forward confidently into the work force in a field of their choice.
For their friends and families, the milestone is a memory to treasure. They will have seen their loved one progress from childhood through high school and then to college; the mortarboard and diploma signaling the first significant steps into adulthood.
For those who are retiring or moving on, the formal end of the school year marks the end of a career, one whose work not only allowed others to move forward through life, but to provide food and shelter for themselves and their families. It is no small thing to support one’s self and one’s family through a job. It takes dedication and hard work, regardless of the job or level of responsibility. They can have the satisfaction that they have helped graduates get on a path to achieve those same goals.
To the graduates, their families and friends, and the retirees, we wish you well. No matter where life takes you, good or bad, the lessons you have learned will carry you through any situation.
Congratulations to all.
This editorial appeared in Herald & Review, Decatur, Ill.