Tag: Graduation

Graduation Blues

These blues have little to do with sitting on uncomfortable bleacher seats for two hours. I’ve never sat comfortably through a single graduation ceremony. I think a stiff backside is a requirement.

As usual, the robes were black, so no actual “blues” there.

Okay, the ticket was blue after all.
Okay, the ticket was blue after all.

Maybe it was just a rough day because the sun smiled on the ceremony and I was stuck in the covered grandstand.

Or it could have been the overcrowded seating area and being unable to sit with my husband. At least we had a seat, thanks to a kind gentleman who moved people aside to give us three seats together (even though there were four women needing them.)

In fact, the biggest blues factor could be the noise coming from the “guest” bedroom.

Our empty nest is no longer empty.

The positives

  • Graduation day was gorgeous.
  • Since he graduated from a Christian college, there was prayer, scripture reading and a Christ-centered focus throughout the speeches.
  • My son graduated cum laude AND he won award for the Outstanding Marketing student in the graduating class.
  • Delicious meal with family at Red Robin after the ceremony.
  • He finished. He has a lead on a job. He’s moving on to the next stage of life: adulthood. (He might not see that as a POSITIVE in a few years).
  • I am proud.
  • I’m not spending the week totally alone while my husband is traveling – again. (Would you like to hear more about this in a later post?)

The not-so-positives

  • He keeps talking to me when I’m trying to work.
  • He rolled his eyes when I asked him to clean the bathroom.
  • There are boxes scattered in the hallway and junk in the living room (by JUNK, I mean game systems and related wires, controllers, etc.)
  • I’m not totally alone in the house – meaning, I will have to cook. I can’t just enjoy easy meals. (See this post for details.)
  • The guest room is a cluttered mess. AND there is no longer room for a guest.

Let’s face it, the positives have everything to do with graduation and the “nots” are all about adjusting my schedule and home. You know, to adapt to having an adult child residing here again.

When have you experienced mixed feelings about a life event? Isn’t anything ever all positive?

Expecting Your Kid to Go to College could be the Wrong Idea

Image from caveviews.blogs.com
Image from caveviews.blogs.com

College. Everyone needs to go to college. This is what the media, the president, and most teachers tell young people.

In grade school, they start talking to you about college. What college are you considering? What do you want to be when you grow up? Yes, you need a college degree to be a fireman. Yes, you need a college degree to be a doctor.

Everyone should want to go to college. Wrong. False expectation. All America is doing by putting this expectation on their children is damaging them. Especially at a super-young (pre-teen) age.

Do I think it’s wrong to talk about college to seventh and eighth grade students? Of course not! It’s time for them to think about it. They are old enough and mature enough (sometimes) to consider the future.

When you get to high school, you have some control over your class schedule. Knowing what  you think you want to do later in life will help you make decisions about that.

Know what? A huge percentage of high school students have no idea what they want to be when they grow up or what they’re going to do after high school. Some forty-year-olds have neither grown up nor figured out their future plans.

Yet, this pressure for them to make a decision exists. Don’t they have enough stress? Give them a few years to figure it out. This expectation that young people need to know what they’re going to do with their lives by the time they’re 12 so they can be shaped into that pathway often defeats the underlying purpose.

When we force this issue, here’s what happens: Kid: “I like skateboarding. I like riding my bike and doing tricks. I’m going to be the next Tony Hawk.” (I have actually heard seventh-grade boys say this.) Adult: “No, you’re not. Less than one percent of people can go pro in that field.” (Kid effectively discouraged from dreaming but not even a millimeter closer to discovering the true ambition for his future.) Read more

Graduation Celebration

When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it” – Yogi Berra

One journey culminates with a gathering of people whose support made the journey bearable.

I’m proud to display my outstanding graduate award and as soon as my diploma arrives in the mail, I’ll be putting it in a place of honor as well.

My motto: Don't just do it, do it best
My motto: Don’t just do it, do it best

Unfortunately, the end of this road means the beginning of another one. There is no standing still in life – only moving forward.

I’ve already laid out my writing schedule (along with my summer list of projects that need to be completed around the house). For more on this, come back in two weeks.

Today, however, my son, my niece and I will celebrate our accomplishment with family and friends. Feasting on homemade food, the three of us will bask in the glory of this moment.

Then, we’ll begin again. A job hunt for my son will eventually yield him a paid position, the first of many in his working life. Beginning a Master’s program is up next for my niece.

Fortunately, all of you will get to join me as my quest for completing a young adult fantasy novel becomes central. I’ll throw my name into a few hats for paid gigs. But mostly, I’ll do the work in order to reap the benefits of my perseverance.

In fact, completing my Bachelor of Arts degree only reaffirms that I am capable of climbing the mountain named Publishing and leaving my flag atop it.

Graduation Day

High school graduation - 2009
High school graduation – 2009

June 15 at 10:00 am, the commencement ceremony begins at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. The stadium teems with parents, grandparents and friends.

I have a tissue (or four) ready.

My oldest son sits on the field below us. Since I didn’t attend my graduation ceremony (traveling to New Hampshire wasn’t as important as going to Germany), I’m living vicariously through him once more.

Even while the speaker gives motivational and inspirational advice, I know Tanner is thinking ahead. The younger we are, the less we live in the moment.

After an interminable amount of time and a seemingly endless list of names, he shakes the President’s hand and grasps his diploma (not really; they pick those up later, but symbolically he got that certificate). His four-year journey through higher education is ending.

Now real life begins.

After Graduation

This time of year, people all over America are asking the question, “What happens after graduation?”

Does this middle-aged coed have an original question?

Well, no, but my answer comes more quickly to my lips than what a high school graduate might flippantly toss into conversation. I might even have a more definitive plan than many college graduates.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those who have a job waiting for me on the other side of graduation. Of course, I don’t really want one, either.

I’ve halfheartedly sent out a few resumes and responded to a few jobs that interested me on LinkedIn. My heart screams, “No! I’m going to write.”

My mind cajoles, “It’s a trap! How will you live without a regular paycheck?”

It’s nice that my son’s roommates have jobs waiting for them. They had been interning at this company over the past summer (or two). My son hoped he might be able to find employment there and just continue his comfortable living arrangements after graduation.

No regular jobs are available, but they’re looking for interns.

I wonder if he’s been submitting resumes and cover letters with more enthusiasm than I’m displaying. After all, he really is just starting out. He needs to get a job so he can become completely independent of his parents and be ready to pay back those thousands of dollars he borrowed in student loans.

I have a husband. My husband is an engineer. He makes good money. I have a small amount of debt from my degree, half of which was accrued so I could contribute cash to our youngest son’s education.

What happens after graduation?

I’m getting on a plane and flying to Boston, MA. After a few days there, I board a transatlantic flight to Amsterdam and then Munich. While my husband works, I will soak in the German culture. I plan to see a few museums, gardens and castles.

When I get back to the United States, I’m going to go to a friend’s wedding. The day after that, my friends and family will celebrate the multi-graduation occasions at a barbecue.

Two weeks after that, I will co-host a large garage sale with my sister. Hopefully, my house will be garnering much attention from interested buyers. If that’s the case, it may not be many weeks after the sale that I’ll be packing up my house and moving.

Amidst all of this, I will finish my WIP. I will edit the manuscript and get a copy ready for the classroom of beta readers I’ve been promised at the middle school where I will no longer work.

What are your plans for after graduation? Or perhaps you just have summer plans you’d like to share. I love hearing from my readers.

The End is in Sight

From UO News Bureau

It’s finally here. I thought I’d be so much more excited, but the exhaustion seeping from every pore chains my exuberance.

This is my last term as an undergraduate student.

As usual, I have two classes. Both of these classes were my top picks and I hope they’ll end up being as enlightening and enjoyable as I imagined. Read more

Two Terms to Go

Image by 123rf.com

Embarking on yet another eight week tidal wave of mental expansion, I can’t help but smile. My beaming face dwarfs the sun. Of course, since I live in the rainy Northwest, it isn’t hard to eclipse that brilliant star. This time of year, the clouds do a fine job of it.

Both of my classes are applicable to my major and they seem interesting. It looks like I will be reading so much for class that I won’t have time for any recreational reading. I may even have to trade in my fantasy “one chapter before bed” for school-related reading material.

Context of Writing

In the class description, the context of writing should educate students on the publishing industry. With course objectives like: identify and examine the driving forces of the literary marketplace and examine current trends in publishing, it appears I might learn something.

Hopefully, the wisdom I glean will push me toward becoming published. If nothing else, it should at least help me determine if I’m going to go with traditional publishing, indie publishing or self-publishing.

I was required to purchase a prize-winning book to use for all the course work. In addition to reading this novel (more on that in a later post), I have to read Book Business by Jason Epstein. I hope it reads more happily than it sounds. (Newsflash: I read the preface and first chapter and it isn’t too dry – so far.)

Every week I have to write a short paper for this class and I also will keep a blog through the eight-week term. At the end of the term, a six-page paper on the future of the book business will wrap up my publishing enlightenment.

Seminar in American Literature

Finally, my senior level literature class has arrived. With it, To Kill a Mockingbird and a delightful anthology of short fiction taunt me with impending boatloads of reading assignments.

In addition to reading Lee’s masterpiece, I must read another novel. I’ll analyze this novel’s themes around the premise of the class. You’ll love this cheerful theme we’re focusing on: the American ideal of loss of innocence. Should the loss of innocence ever be considered ideal?

My final for the class is an eight-page analytical paper on this yet unnamed novel and a PowerPoint outlining its major themes. Along the way, I will have to write two other papers. Fortunately, the topics have already been given so I can begin the writing as soon as I’ve finished the reading.

Did I mention I’ll be buried with texts and reading assignments for the next eight weeks? I’m hyperventilating from the weight of literary dirt over my thin casket of time.

I was hoping that I might be able to get back to writing my novel this term. With the three blog posts per week, I’ve been barely keeping my head above water. Throw in two long term papers and some shorter essays every week for class, and I don’t see much creative juice being available for the novel.

Should I be making time to write that? I always feel so guilty when I’m not doing schoolwork, and so I write in unfocused circular motion.

What is Wisdom?

“Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences” – Norman Cousins

HPIM0596.JPG

Four months away from having a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature conferred upon me by a reputable institution of higher learning, I ponder the definition of wisdom.

Many of the quotations I found while searching for something that partnered well with my post inferred that wisdom was directly related to asking questions. I really thought that would be knowledge, so I went to the dictionary for a clear definition.

Dictionary.com says that wisdom is “knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.” In my own words, I’d say wisdom means knowing the right thing to do and doing it. Additionally, I believe wisdom understands there is a “best way” for these actions to be completed and performs them accordingly.

Several days ago, I posted on my church blog about a wise woman from the Bible named Abigail. Her life, filled with unpleasantness at the hands of her churl of a husband, wouldn’t seem one that would lend itself to finding wisdom. However, that wasn’t the case at all.

Some Americans in this era act as if higher education is the path to wisdom. If you don’t have a college degree, you’re doomed to mediocrity and probably believe everything you hear on TV.

Education is the path to knowledge. Wisdom is the path of experience. After eight weeks of reading Shakespeare, I can safely say I’m not an expert in anything having to do with The Bard. In fact, by increasing my knowledge and experiencing more of his writing first hand, my ignorance was illuminated. However, the path to wisdom isn’t by thorough knowledge of Shakespeare.

Wisdom graces our everyday life with enlightened decision making. Exercising problem solving skills and higher reasoning, anyone can live wisely. The key is to think before you act (or speak) and recognize when you don’t have enough information to accurately judge what the best course of action would be.

In that moment, a wise person asks questions. They seek knowledge to inform their decisions. So, I suppose all those quotes that saw a correlation between wisdom and asking questions were insightful, after all.

Wisdom: no college degree required. In fact, a college degree might give some people a false sense of confidence.

I hope and pray I’ll be wiser in four months. I’ll be exercising decision-making skills every day until then. In the meantime, I’ll remember that “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:28).

I hope I’m wise enough to keep my mouth shut.