May is graduation month for many high schools and colleges. To mark the occasion, friend and fellow writer Jackie Johnston asked several folks to guest blog on her site, JayeWalking.com. Our assignment: Answer the question: “What advice would you give to the Class of 2010?” Jackie has collected an inspiring assortment of posts, ranging from her fellow publicists at Thomas Nelson to her father. When she asked me to be included among them, I felt honored and perplexed.
What could I impart?
I remembered the semester in college when I agonized over a statistics class I thought for sure I would fail. My aunt, who is a psychologist, gave me tips for yoga poses and relaxation breathing. When that didn’t work, my mother sent me roses with a note saying she’d love me even if I didn’t make all A’s. As I started to write a post for Jackie on why students shouldn’t take grades too seriously, I realized what a hypocrite I was being. After all, I still want A’s.
So I started to write about how all the things you think are big deals in high school turn out to be irrelevant in college, and all the things you fret over in college evaporate when you enter the “real world”. Of course, that’s not true either. I married my high school sweetheart. I work at the newspaper where I interned in college. And even if you don’t make decisions like those – and I realize I am an extreme example of early commitment – the things that happen early on do, indeed, help set a course for you later in life. Do you like who you are right now? Good. That means you have learned to grow from experience instead of regret your decisions. Do you feel unsettled? Try digging around in your past for a while.
After a few more scrapped blog posts, it occurred to me I was having trouble fulfilling Jackie’s assignment because I was approaching it too literally. Don’t write a post about school. We are always graduating from something, I thought, and it’s the transition itself that is difficult.
Here’s what I came up with. Thank you, Jackie, for the opportunity. Best wishes to you, wherever life takes you.