The first time I graduated I didn’t “walk”. I took my last final on a Friday and on Saturday morning I moved 5 states away. I stayed away for seven years. I was jaded and disgruntled and just wanted to get out and to be done. I wasn’t sure my degree was “worth it”.
The second time I graduated I sat through two ceremonies, walked in one, and I milked everything I could out of all of it. I wanted more. I loved it.
Now I have the opportunity to sit up on stage at graduation ceremonies every year and it gives me a moment to pause and reflect at the differences between my first and second ceremonies. Or rather, compare my attitude relating to the two educational experiences.
What I have learned from this reflection is at the heart of why I do my job.
What I learned is that I did it all wrong the first time. The worst part is that I didn’t know I had done it wrong till I did it the second time.
I had done it all wrong and because of that I didn’t think it had been worth it. I worked hard, and scrimped and scratched to pay for it, and I needed a degree to get a job, and sure I learned some stuff in there and I definitely needed a job, but in the end I felt spent and it was almost as if any real lessons I had learned were in spite of, rather than because of, school.
Then, thinking I was only pursuing career advancement in a trade school sort of way, I went to school again and it was as if fireworks, a choir of angels, and all the possible light bulbs surrounded me in glittering explosions of song and light.
I was risking more, spending ten times more, and it was the most wonderfully indulgent experience imaginable.
And because of it, I am happier every day after, than I was any day before.
That happiness is how I measure worth.
Education is worth it… when you do it right.
School is worth it.
Worth, all of it.
That is why I love my job. There are things about my job that are hard, that are drudgery, that frustrate me to no end, but I love it because I can feign some wisdom from what I have learned along the way and I can help others know how to do it right the first time.
You can do it right the first time.
Happy graduation season everyone!