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Reflection from college graduation

April 29, 2009

Written on April 27, 2008- One week prior to my graduation from Indiana University


I am writing this only six days prior to my college graduation.  To think that I have sat through my last class for the rest of my life brings a rush of mixed emotions.  Part of me hates the fact that those days of being a kid are over.  I remember the first day of kindergarten when that big yellow monster came roaring up the hill.  I was so excited, and eager to learn whatever was thrown my way.  Getting excited for going outside on the playground during lunch.  Playing football and hockey after school for endless hours.  There were many occasions in which we played from sun up until sun down.  We were frozen in time in a way.  Our own fantasy worlds, where reality was our imaginations.  Obviously going to class for the last sixteen years has not been fun at times.  There have been so many boring days where each minute takes a year.  That sunny 75-degree day, and being stuck in history class, with the windows luring you away from the boring teachers.  We have all been there before.  School in a way has created who I am.  There have been so many different people that I have come across along this long journey.   I have made friends that will last a lifetime.  Fortunately, growing up in a very small town, it was easy to form bonds.  As in everything in life, there are positives and negatives to being around the same fifty-six kids from kindergarten through eighth grade.  However, the ups definitely outweighed the downs.  I will never forget in third grade when my dad told me to enjoy the ride, because it will fly by.  Sometimes I wake up and yearn for being a little kid again.  There were never any worries except whether or not a little league game was going to be rained out.  Ignorance was bliss back then.  Ironically, when I was in the middle of my youth, I recall always wanting to be an adult.  Being 21 sounded awesome, considering it is the legal age for drinking and gambling in our country.   Having babysitters and bedtimes were dull, and the real world sounded thrilling to say the least. You always want what you cannot have.   Lately, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the past, but also on the future. 

            The whole world is right in front of our eyes.  I am nearing the end of a long tunnel, and the light is beginning to seep through.  The marathon begins six days from today. I will throw that cap in the air for the fourth and most likely final time in my life, and begin a new chapter.  Life is all about transitions.  Thus far, the hardest transition I have had to make was high school to college.  At the time, to some this was a little bit overwhelming.  During junior year of high school I was ready for college.  Transitioning into college wasn’t really that hard.  My parents did a great job of allowing me lots of independence as I grew up.  They always had the motto, as long as I did well in school and didn’t get in trouble with the law, I can be without limits.  There were many kids that I knew that couldn’t handle the independence that college brought.  From the first time in our young lives, there was nobody telling us what to do.  At the age of 18 there are obviously a lot of kids that aren’t mature enough to handle this.  Our society does a horrible job of making young people make such difficult decisions.  People stress too much about what they are going to do after the education run has ended.  There is an assembly line that exists in which people are supposed to be links on a chain.  Or just thinking about a factory correlates to the pattern of the 9 to 5 mentality.  There is no way I can ever diligently care enough about something when it is not my own.  More than anything college is supposed to help you find out who you really are.   Thinking like a chess player, and planning your future out accordingly. The classroom has nothing to do with this.  Being on a quest for knowledge is always a vital part of my life.  However, since I had to decide what major I wanted to be in when I was seventeen years old, things have changed immensely.  As a whole our generation has to realize, that graduating college does not mean our lives are over.  Whatever you decide to do to be a part of this world is just now.  The decision you make when getting your first job, is not the rest of your life.  It’s all about building the foundation through different learning experiences.   Using me as a perfect example, four years ago I wanted to be a professional sports broadcaster.  I used to go to broadcasting camps and always dreamed of calling game 7 of the Stanley cup finals and being the next Howard Cosell (The great Monday night football sportscaster).  These dreams quickly faded once I got to college.  I had a radio show for two years, and did some announcing for baseball, hockey, and basketball games.  However, the passion in the audience wasn’t present.  Another issue with sports announcing is the lack of money that can be made.  My ultimate goal is freedom from the system.  I don’t want money to have anything to do with my daily thought process.  Working for me will not be a means to an end; it will be a means to absolute freedom.  I consider myself a self-centered individual until this goal is reached.  How am I supposed to help others without my mind being in the right state?  Everybody has to think about themselves before other people at first.  I am a very caring and generous person, when I mention self-centered, I refer to my lack of helping of the less fortunate right now.   There are millions of people who are in dire situations.  This bothers me a great deal, but there is nothing I can do right now.  Do not fish for the man, teach him how to fish.  Donating tons of money will not do the trick either.  Giving time and energy to an important matter in this world on a daily basis is what I hope to achieve. 

            Many of you are probably beginning to feel some anxiety.  This is completely normal when such a huge transition is about to take place in your life.  Although easier said than done, try to take everything in stride.  Don’t sweat the small stuff and stick with your instincts.  Go with what you have built up since you were a little kid.  Think about all the tools that have been provided for you, and the knowledge you have accrued through relationships with others, and hands on learning experiences.  Running a business throughout college made me realize, that the best learning is hands on.  You can be taught a lot in the classroom, but it is time to get out there and do it.   This is what we have all been waiting for.  Sure it is depressing that we will all be moving on in different directions.  We aren’t going to see each other on a daily basis anymore.  However, in this day of age it is easier than ever to keep in contact with people that you are close to.  Relationships will stay intact, and the next stage begins.  Once graduation is complete, begin to get organized.  Get out a piece of paper and jot down the pros and cons of your life as of now.  What are some traits that you would like to change?  Believe it or not, we are at a critical stage in our lives.  If you want to change anything, now is the time.  Bad habits are hard to change at times, but you can do anything that you put your mind to.  Never let anybody get in the way of your goals.  If you want something that badly, you will achieve it through dedication. Write down some short term and long term goals.  Writing down a plan, will help with execution.  I have realized that when writing something down you feel a sense of urgency that you have to get that task accomplished.   Begin a workout regimen.  Working out on a daily basis, will help with stress.   I know first hand how much this makes a difference.  Before college, I was always playing hockey, and running track.  Once college rolled around I got lazy and put on some weight.  My physical and mental state was horrible, and working out changed all that.   This will also help you get through a long day of work.  I plan on breaking my day up by going to the gym in the middle of work during lunchtime. 

            The biggest element in this transition is confidence in you.  You know more than anybody else what you can bring to the table.  Go at it with enthusiasm, and passion.  Get into a routine.  Although this sounds boring, it will help you have some stability in your life.  There is no blueprint for success as we move forward as a generation.  Just stay true to yourself, value the relationships you have developed thus far, and be excited! The good times are just beginning.  I wish everybody the best of luck as we head into the real world.   These last four years have been great, and I will never forget them.  All of you have played a part in my journey, and I appreciate it.  Lets make this generation proud and play key roles in a society that needs our help. 



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