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Midday Matinee – Graduations

May 6, 2012

Midday Matinee

Midday Matinee – Graduations

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

It is that time of year when high schools and colleges send their seniors off into the world to Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches.” The title is taken from Act III, scene III of Shakespeare’s Othello.

Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th’ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!”

Graduates reading this may wonder at these bits of trivia. Trust me, you will need to ponder something while the speeches drone on and your fellow graduates wait their turn to cross the stage. Why not ponder the notion that we send you off to the next stage of your lives with a military march? Weird. You are being sent off into the next phase of your life, whatever it is (and good luck to you) with the glory of the military as your musical send off.

I have noticed that many older people say very weird things to graduates. I don’t think they mean to be mean when they ask you, “So what will you major in?” or “What will you do with that degree?” I sincerely believe that many older people are simply envious of the choices you have in front of you. In a sense, they are wondering about choices they did not make and are jealous that you get to make those same choices. How should you respond?

My oldest son had a brilliant strategy at his high school graduation. When people asked him what he wanted to be, he said, “The Governor of Minnesota.” No one had a response because no one aspired to this job. Jaws dropped and his potential advisors said something like, “Well I wish you well with that.” I asked him if he really wanted to be the Governor and he said, “It doesn’t matter at all what I want. I wanted to shut them up and it worked.” This may be a line that you want to use. Just saying.

There will be people who say, very confidentially, to graduates, “These are the best years of your life.” WTF? Why would someone say to a new grad that life from here on will be so much worse?” That’s mean. If you are a new grad do NOT listen to this at all. It is mean to tell you that your life from this point on is all downhill. Your life will be uphill and downhill and may occasionally find a plateau. If you somehow think/thought that there was a state of being called “grown up” forget that. We are all of us on a journey. Join us. You have punched your educational ticket. Celebrate it. Use it to follow your dreams.

Congratulations to the graduates!

Reader Comments Welcome.

  • addisnana

    Congratulations to Hurrikan Eagle and younger W and their families! Also to other graduates that I don’t know by name. 🙂

    • HurrikanEagle

      Thank you for your congratulations. Now I can use all that other time I spent on school working behind (and sometimes in front) the scenes here at bpi to further improve everyone’s experience here.

      And thank you for the wonderful advice to graduates.

      • addisnana

        Congrats and I fixed the misspelling of your name. Sorry about that!

  • winterbanyan

    I will add my congratulations to HurrikanEagle, Younger W and my niece Christina.

    Graduation is a glorious time, a time of standing on the brink of the future where nearly every opportunity is open to you. It’s marvelous, and I agree, the best years are just beginning.

    Enjoy having so many open doors. As we go through life, we have less of them, so take your time, examine all the possibilities and go for it!

    I wish you all the very best that life has to offer: Love and Happiness.

  • NCrissieB

    Thank you for this, addisnana, and well-earned congratulations to HurrikanEagle, Younger W and other graduates reading this.

    High school is a battle against adolescence and (often) boredom. You’ve been in school forever and want to be done and sticking out those last two years is often a challenge.

    A bachelors’ program in college is a huge challenge. Life management skills are tested in new ways. Few professors take attendance or check homework, making it very easy to procrastinate and/or be distracted by parties and the rest of campus life. Most colleges will let students fail if they can’t manage those life management skills … and only half of students who start a bachelors’ program graduate within 5 years.

    Just getting into a graduate program is a big hurdle. Of the 900 plus applicants to my law school for my starting semester, only 80 were admitted. The workload in graduate school is higher than most bachelors’ programs, and graduate students are more likely to be married and have other life priorities to juggle with school.

    So well-earned congratulations to HurrikanEagle, Younger W, and other graduates. You’ve completed a difficult journey and are about to begin another. And you’ll learn that’s pretty much the story of life.

    • One of the rude awakening moments I had was in my “welcome to the college” briefing. The president of the college said “Look to your left. Now look to your right. The statistics say that people you just looked at won’t be here when you graduate.”

  • Congratulations to all the graduates. 🙂 I have a two nephews who are graduating this year, one from college, the other from high school. Next year is the nephew finishing up his doctorate in mathematics.

    I know I don’t remember any of my graduation speakers, or what they said, but I’m sure they said something deep and meaningful. 😛

    My own advice to graduates is simple: Be Interested. Most of the jobs I’ve had over the years weren’t what I thought I’d be doing back when I left high school or college. They came about because I was interested in something, and that led to some new opportunities. My high school teachers would have been astonished that the kid who barely scraped through high school chemistry has several papers on protein biochemistry to his credit, let alone the one who used to “count words” and moan about having to write an essay ended up being a columnist and blogger. 😉

    • addisnana

      🙂 Be interested is good advice, Norbrook. Your unexpected careers are a wonderful example of how life can evolve.

      When I worked at Honeywell I was a technical writer, a copywriter, a supervisor in merchandising (copywriters and graphics) and then a training and development person. A senior exec tried to mentor by telling me I should pick something and stick with that. He asked if I had a plan. I replied that apparently my plan was to explore the careers available on the second floor. He thought I was gadding about and I thought the next opportunity looked more interesting. When I left after 6 years I left from the third floor.

      • Exactly. Most of my careers seem to have stemmed from “Hey, that looks interesting, think I’ll take a class in it.” That’s how I ended up bouncing from tropical diseases to computer programming to protein biochemistry to environmental toxicology to endocrinology to computer systems to environmental studies. Only the two of them are related to what I majored in, in college. My political blogging came about because I started getting really interested in politics.

    • HurrikanEagle

      The thing I’ve become most interested in doing throughout college actually had nothing to do with what I wanted to do after I graduated high school (get a degree in meteorology) or my major (u.s. history). I didn’t discover until my time at USF how much I enjoyed working on computers. Then it was only last semester I learned the actual joys of coding and the satisfaction that I could get from it.

      Looking back though I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I have such an interest with computers and their parts. I remember playing games with NCrissieB back when I was very young on things like MS DOS. Then I remember slowly progressing into word games on prodigy. Thus my interest in computers and the internet has been around just as long as my interest in history and stems from the same source.

      I suppose it helps that when computers disagree with you they USUALLY* can tell you almost exactly whats wrong with them even if you really don’t wanna hear it at the time. THank you for your congratulations as well Norbrook.