Posted on 06 June 2013 by La Habra Journal
It’s that time of year again. The time when the community turns over and welcomes a new cycle of graduates. The local colleges and universities were first and now is the time for the three high schools. Among all the schools, that’s a few thousand people who are now turned lose to find jobs, plan and prepare for more school or just go out and enjoy life. Whatever lies in store, they are now here.
However, before they get there, the first stop for all graduates is the commencement ceremony. Each year I attend the commencement at Fullerton College (part of teaching), and I was recently at one of CSUF’s and Chapman’s commencement ceremonies. This year I attended Whittier Christian’s and will be spending my day at both La Habra and Sonora’s graduations. Attending so many of these ceremonies I have been able to give them a lot of thought. While they are all different and special for that moment, there are a number of common threads among them.
Now, trying to remember my own graduations in an effort to compare is somewhat pointless. I barely remember my La Habra High School graduation, except what I can recall when I am prompted by a photo someone posts on Facebook. I skipped my Fullerton College graduation ceremony (a choice I now regret). I can barely remember my undergraduate ceremony. That’s either due to the years that have passed or the tailgating that was done with my classmates before the ceremony (not something I would recommend or encourage). However. I do remember my graduate ceremony at CSUF. That was probably because my then pregnant wife and daughter were there and mine was the very first name called (not because of anything academic, I just ended up at the front of the line).
Whatever the reason, the memories are there but fading. From this, one common thing that I’ve realized, and something I try to impart on all graduates is to enjoy every moment of it! Soak it in like a sponge! The sights, the leis, the feeling of the cap and gown, the music, the long-winded often cliché speeches, the numbness in your legs from sitting so long, the screaming families, the posed photo, the moment your name is called, the emotions you are feeling, the joy of throwing your cap, the hugs and handshakes from friends and family, the feeling of relief and excitement that it is finally over. Allow yourself to relish in the feeling of accomplishment. No matter how cliché or how silly it might seem at the time, enjoy it. This is your moment and it won’t happen again.
For the families, enjoy it and enjoy it for your graduate. We all celebrate in our own ways, but from observing this as both a participant and an observer, the louder a family is, the ceremony becomes that much more enjoyable. Be proud of your graduates, whether they are a family member of friend. Know that this is a milestone for them and they need to enjoy it. Put up with the long winded speeches that you don’t pay full attention to and all of the other families cheering for their graduates.
Everyone should just enjoy the moment and try to make the memories of turning this important chapter in life last as long as possible.
Congrats to the Class of 2013!