Graduation

It’s my graduation week and to say I am excited is an understatement to express all I am feeling this week. I’ve had more moments than I anticipated when I am overwhelmed with joy, but just as many moments when my eyes fill with tears and I can’t quite place the emotion or sentiment. What I am reminded of is that anytime you – I – see someone walk across the graduation stage, their experience is much more than earning a degree. Albeit important, the degree may be one of many things I and others like me reflect on during times like this. When I think about most are the sacrifices related to time and resources, the late nights of reading, writing and revising, and all the hope – without any guarantee – of what I wanted to be on the other side of my degree attainment, it’s easy to place all the unexpected sentiments. These last few years have been so much more than attending class and checking off degree requirements. They represent a belief that if I made minor adjustments and sacrifices, I would be better positioned to spend the remainder of my life doing what I love professionally. This season has been filled with saying “no” to spontaneous travel, or an impromptu get together with friends, or a community service commitment all because school-related deadlines lingered. It’s been a time of uncertainty, grief, emptiness, accomplishment, triumph, and exhilaration at the same time! I am ELATED to end this season of my life and genuinely excited about all that is ahead. I am excited about the new position I will begin in the fall, as well as looking forward to having some much needed down time this summer. I am grateful for the journey. But whenever you encounter someone who has an advanced degree, please make sure to take a moment to congratulate them – know that their return to school required much more than attending class and performing well on exams. Please don’t undermine their accomplishment by asking about when they’re going to have kids, or get married, or any other obscure standard for success. Celebrate them! Love on them! Give them a hug … I am sure they need it!

Sincerely,

Dr. …