Dec 26 2013

Some mid-year thoughts on college graduation

Category: college,education,higher educationamuzikman @ 2:33 pm

For those of you who have recently run the gauntlet and graduated from college, first of all my most sincere congratulations. it is a milestone in your young lives and something for which you can look back upon and always feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. It is no small thing to invest so much time and (in some cases) so much money to achieve a goal. And like the many who have gone before you, you discovered that the closer you came to the finish line the more obstacles were thrown in your way. But you did it. you navigated the maze of requirements, you jumped through all the hoops, you endured the red tape, you completed the journey successfully.

Anyone who has completed a college degree program knows the feeling of frustration and annoyance at the seemingly endless last-minute minutiae that crops up and seems to want to cling to you and pull you down like swimming through seaweed.  It seems as if only half the battle was completing the course work and the other half was going 12 rounds with the academic bureaucracy in a bare-knuckled fight.  But that also lends to the feeling of victory and relief when you do finally have your diploma in hand.  You fought the man and won!

But there is a percentage of grads who seem to be annoyance-driven.  Every road block, every late fee, every form to fill out, are all a personal affront to them and they cannot wait to wreak social media revenge by airing each and every complaint as loudly as possible to as many on the web as possible.  Our virtual culture certainly provides for ample opportunity for that very thing.  But those words do carry a certain amount of weight and do affect the reputation/perception of the institution and those who work there.

I’d like you to consider something from another perspective.  There are a few of us, known as faculty and staff, who have walked that journey with you.  We have invested in you and we have gone the extra mile for you, sometimes in ways you cannot know and without your knowledge.  We do it because it is our job.  But more that that we do it because we want you to succeed.  We want you to like amazing, wonderful, happy and fruitful lives.  We do it because we care about you, plain and simple.

So in the midst of your electronic “taggings” of annoyance, pause a moment, perhaps take a moment and consider this.  it is likely your entire tenure at the college of choice was not 4 (or more) years of endless irritation and frustration.  (If it was, then one must call into question your judgment and why it is that you stayed and spent all that money…)  I’ll bet anyone reading this can remember a kindness shown to them, some individual attention given to them, some wise counsel, a word of encouragement, a pat on the back in the hallway or a listening ear over a cup of hot coffee.  For those who extended such kindnesses it is somewhat painful to read your frequent posts, made up almost exclusively of contempt and disregard, as you walk out the door.  It isn’t that we want your posts to instantly become filled with thanks and appreciation, trumpeted all over social media, frankly most of us would be roundly embarrassed by such a thing.  But we do want you to remember the good with the bad, and to hold onto a little appreciation of what you have been given by those who have only your best interest a heart.  Remember that long after your frustrations have become distant memories, we’ll still be there, and it is encouraging to us to know that we do not labor in vain.


One Response to “Some mid-year thoughts on college graduation”

  1. Darryl says:

    Good thoughts! I can respect that

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