Given that this is our “Grads & Dads” issue, I think it is appropriate that this space should be devoted to some sort of commencement-worthy address. And, given that I “commenced” twice myself (and that it’s my picture below), I also think it’s appropriate that I should give it. Here goes …
To the Class of 2022 I offer my congratulations. You did it! In fact, you did what few previous classes have ever done: You earned a diploma while never setting foot in a classroom for a good portion of your academic journey, all the while ensuring that the purchase of Zoom stock remained a prudent investment.
Consider what also happened to you during your recent past. A pandemic not of your choosing forced you to make some choices over the past few years that were virtually unprecedented: Should I study today in my PJs? Should I tell the school administrators that their online platform isn’t worth squat and just play video games instead? Should I let Mom know that her 1990s math skills aren’t aging particularly well and will likely cost me a scholarship? Should I list Alexa among the references on my resume? Should I recall these years fondly like practically all the graduates in the history of graduation did, or should I simply toss them in the “bad memory” box and bury it in the backyard next to Walter.
(Walter was my favorite dog of all time. We didn’t actually bury him in the backyard, but I hope you get my drift. I also hope – and believe – you’ll ultimately use your learning experience as just that and that you’ll be a better person because of it.)
While you’re considering, I urge you to ponder something else that happened and was marked as special as you made your way across the graduation stage this year. No matter what number ultimately appeared on your cumulative GPA, you earned a “4.0” in resourcefulness.
You entered school ready to perform a conventional zig. Then you learned to zag. Your path was suddenly blocked by a mountain, and you scaled it. In fact, you got to plant a flag at the peak, where you shared the rarest of views with the select few who have been climbing with you the past few years. Trust me on this: The stories you share with one another at the 10-year reunion will be considerably more gratifying than any most of us share or shared at ours.
Before telling those, though, you get to address the future. With what you’ve just been through, how daunting can it be?
That’s the beauty of challenges. When you meet them head on and conquer them, you realize that you can take on more than you ever imagined. And that, dear friends in the Class of 2022, is the best education you can get.