Graduation time whether from high school or college - is one of life's major milestones. So much changes at that moment, never to be the same again.
More than 22,000 Utah high school seniors and thousands of college graduates will be accepting diplomas in the coming days. For many of the high schoolers and nearly all the collegians, it means the end of formal education and embarking into the world of every-day work - the "real world" as some students describe it.Yet in a sense, the graduates have not reached the end of their education. Many, if not most, of life's most important lessons still lie ahead. Being handed a diploma does not mean that one is now educated.
Any person of some years who looks back at graduation time readily admits how little he or she knew at the time.
If they haven't already learned it, the graduates will soon discover that the diploma is no substitute for character, for discipline, for experience. Neither is it a certificate of wisdom. About all it amounts to is a passport into the world of adulthood.
However, a diploma is not without meaning. Even a high school diploma indicates that the owner has met certain standards, has acquired some basic facts, has shown enough commitment to finish an academic course. For the college graduate, it means success over an even more difficult path, with greater career rewards usually waiting.
As graduates enter the world of careers, the diploma is no guarantee of ultimate success. What counts over the long haul is attitude - an outlook that is not so much, "What can I get?" but rather, "What can I give?" The graduate who is less concerned about pay, vacations, and benefits, and more about how to do a better job, usually will not lack employment.
In the initial sense of freedom and accomplishment that a diploma brings, many graduates want to celebrate. But any celebration ought to be done carefully. Drinking and driving, for example, could cut short a promising future before it had begun.
To all the graduates, congratulations for what you have achieved. Now, let's see what you can contribute. We expect a great deal.