Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year?

No, I haven't gone off the deep end. I know it's nowhere near Christmas. But as I watch "my kids" prepare to finish up their academic year and career -- graduation is just four days away at Point Park University -- I wonder if right now is the most wonderful time of the year.

For some, it is. No doubt about it.

Each year, as I watch a new set of young men and women get ready to enter the "real world," I'm reminded of the emotional roller coaster that getting ready for graduation involves. There is the excitement of wrapping up one part of your life. But there also is the uncertainty of what the next phase will bring. And of course there is the knowledge that all of us who have graduated know -- it is absolutely impossible to predict the future.

If you had told me when I completed my undergraduate days at USC that I would be a Ph.D. before I was 40, I'd have suggested you be fitted for a jacket that has its arms set backwards. And if you'd have told me when I was 21 that I would have married a woman from Ohio...yes, I would have advised that the jacket be tied tightly and that the cell in which you were placed be thickly padded.

But the importance of uncertainty should be ignored for now.

Of course, some people will find instantaneous professional success; I'm reminded that almost half the students who took my newscast class in the fall already have lined up a job. I'm fully confident that one or two others will be wrapping up their job searches rather quickly.

More of "my kids" are neck deep into their job hunting. Their faces say optimism, but their eyes say worry. That, too, is part of the "real world."

At the same time, I see other students who have already moved on -- they long ago decided that the communication field is not for them. Something else is, and some of these young men and women know what that is. But others are struggling with what it is they want to do.

But at graduation and for the two hours it takes to complete that ceremony, the uncertainty of what the road to professional satisfaction will entail will be forgotten. On Saturday I will see some of "my kids" for the final time, or at least it will be a long time before I lay eyes on them. I'll enjoy sharing in their enjoyment, but I'll also have to admit that seeing some of them go isn't appealing.

As is true with my boys, there comes a time when they have to be turned loose. Hmmm, maybe this is NOT the most wonderful time of the year?

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