Friday, June 12, 2015

Graduation: Go Pick Up Your Diploma

I am neither the valedictorian nor salutatorian, in fact I think I'm like 10th or 11th in the class, so I don't get to give any speeches at graduation. Frankly, if you read my Eagle speech, it's not that much of a loss. Nevertheless, since this is my house and my soapbox, I'm going to say some stuff about graduation and the sort.

The way I see it, it's poetic that the commencement diploma distribution is a lie. We're called up one by one, shake hands, and receive a "diploma" that in reality is just a holder. In order to get the diploma that goes in that holder, you have to go back to the gym to pick it up. So why is this poetic?

Education, or at least public education, is often looked at as a free ride, something that's handed to you. It really isn't. Well, success isn't at least. See, the only thing they hand to you are the bare bones - the four required English classes, the three maths, the very basic classes. And even then, you just have to pass.

The poetry is this - in order to succeed, you have to take another step - you have to go to the gym, or like go and do stuff above and beyond - to actually accomplish something. That's been my experience at Carlynton these past 13 years. The school will support you in whatever you do, but in the end your success depends upon the opportunities that you take advantage of. If you take no action, in the end you just have a diploma holder.

I don't have any deep and profound wisdom for anyone - after all, I'm only a recent high school graduate - but I do have this one quote I found a few years back. It's a quote from the autobiography of Walter Cronkite that I read in the 10th grade, and I've used it as my email signature ever since.
I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got
That's it, you just have to give this crazy game of life all you've got. Take opportunities, meet awesome people, and just keep doing things. It's cliche to say that this is just a beginning or whatever sunshine rainbow quote you usually hear at these things, but I guess it's true. In a less abstract sense, it's the beginning of your own choosing. The last thing you do as a high school student is to walk out of here and pick up your diploma to put in that holder. But that's also the first choice you make as a high school graduate.

So don't forget to go pick that up, you earned it.

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