Congratulations, class of 2015. Your day has finally come. The classes have ended. The final papers are in. The exams are behind you. You’re not registering for another fall. You are free. Over the next several weeks, hundreds of proud, relieved, and ambitious young people like you will walk across the stage, shake a couple of hands, and receive the prized piece of paper declaring, "It is finished."
For many of you — maybe most — this is the greatest accomplishment of your lives thus far. Four years — or five, or eight — of hard work have earned you the cap, the gown, and the degree. For many, it's the end of some of the best years of your lives — experiencing freedom and independence, learning from great teachers, joining fraternities or sororities, competing in intramural sports, reading life-changing books, meeting lifelong friends.
Four Truths to Remember While You Wait
For just as many, though, graduation marks the beginning of months (maybe more) of waiting, searching, and doubting. Degrees don't guarantee jobs. The vast majority will not even help make the big decisions for you. What city should you live in? What jobs should you apply for? How will you know to accept an offer?
And then what if the offer doesn't come? The graduation ceremony is a massive affirmation that can quickly be undone by dozens of unreturned calls, uninterested employers, and unclear steps forward. Leaving the comfort, community, and identity of campus life can be a violent, confusing crash back into reality.