Beyond the Pomp & Circumstance
The Class of 2020 will certainly remember the year that they graduated. In fact, we will all remember the year they graduated. It’s a year unlike any other. We’ve likely all experienced some sort of loss during this time. For some it’s a loss of life and that is truly tragic. For others, it’s the loss of plans, the loss of tradition, the loss of connection, and the loss of expected memories.
There’s an activity floating around Facebook in which people post a copy of their senior picture in honor of seniors who graduated this year. I suppose it’s a way to saying, “we see you.” As we remember our own graduation ceremonies, we remember the feelings of anticipation and excitement. High school graduation, in particular, was a significant milestone. It’s not because graduating high school is exceedingly difficult but it’s because you are finished with this mandatory portion of your education. Many people turn 18 during or near their senior year of high school. You are an adult, you’ve finished your compulsory education, and the world seems full of possibilities. Does the Class of 2020 feel this way? I certainly hope so.
Graduation day was one of the happier days of my existence up until that point. I was headed off to college, moving out of my parents’ home, and excitedly looking forward to what all that meant. College was a grand adventure and yet it surprises me how much nostalgia I feel toward high school as I reflect back on it. Those years filled with teenage angst and uncertainty served their purpose. May the current group of graduates feel as though high school served them well. Even though their transition from high school was turned on its head, may they also feel full of possibilities as they embrace what’s next. They will one day reflect back on the strange year of 2020 and see how it prepared them for what the future will be.
With ceremonies cancelled and family and friends instructed to stay put, consider an unorthodox way to congratulate the graduate in your life. Take a few minutes and record something on your phone (audio or video) and then send it to the graduate. Let him or her know how proud you are of them. The beauty of recorded sentiment is that it can be played repeatedly. Spoken compliments are terrific, recorded sentiments are lasting.
Here are some question prompts you might want to use:
How would you describe the graduate today?
How has he/she changed over the years?
What piece of advice would you have appreciated as a graduate?
What positive thing do you see in his/her future?
What is one action the graduate can do today to move in the direction to his/her dream?