Last week I attended my son’s first graduation. Granted, it was graduation from preschool, but a big day for him. I’m proud of his school for dressing all the kids up in caps and gowns to help that day feel important and special. Because it is. Graduation is a huge accomplishment. The kids felt so grown up and proud of themselves. My son was bursting with energy and excited for the next challenge: Kindergarten.
I remember my own graduation from high school and college well. Those days were crossroads in my life, big decisions that would shape my future. I also remember feeling enormous relief and satisfaction for having completed so much.
This month, graduates pouring out of high schools and colleges around the nation face two big questions. How can I celebrate and what comes next?
I’ll leave the celebration to you, but let’s talk about what comes next. Graduation often feels like the end. A relief from studying, tests, assignments and busy life in general. Ask anyone who’s been graduated a few years and you’ll see that it’s not an end at all. In fact, the word graduation comes from the root “grade” defined as “a step or stage in a course or process.”
Graduation is simply taking the next step. But don’t just take steps. Take steps in a direction. For many, the next step is higher education with the hopes it will prepare them to enter the career field better prepared. They hope they will find a better job and earn more. In the end, they will feel better about themselves for achieving something great and becoming a wiser, more intelligent person.
If you just graduated from high school and haven’t already chosen a college to attend, consider earning an Associate or Bachelor’s degree online or from a college near you. If you’re graduating from college, or have been working for a few years seriously consider what a higher degree could do to help you advance your career.
Take pride in your degree. You’ve earned it.