When I think of the month of May, I think of three things: gardening (of course), Mothers Day, and graduations. I live surrounded by colleges, with two campuses of the State University of New York to my North and South, Ithaca College to my west, and three community colleges here and there. From mid-May on, the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" can be heard pouring from stadiums and auditoriums every weekend. The last graduation I went to, but certainly not my last - not with 5 grandchildren - was for my oldest granddaughter when she graduated high school. I remember listening to all the speeches about how their lives were just beginning, and how they were being challenged to go out there and make a difference. My reaction to what the speakers were saying was that they were leaving out some really important things that I thought these young people should know. I wanted to tell them all about the next school of higher education they were about to enter - The School of Life.
I wanted to tell them that learning never, ever ends and that one does not graduate from the School of Life. Instead, one just continues to master one subject after another. We learn to think and act on our own without our parents to guide us. We learn about relationships, love, marriage, children, and work. We also find out that some of the things we learned growing up don't necessarily hold water now that we are adults, and that we have the power to not only change our lives, but to change the world if that is our calling. We learn that the most powerful teacher of all is the one that lives inside, the voice that whispers to us when we're not on our chosen path. We learn that becoming all that we can be requires us to be flexible and open to change. We learn that hate never solved anything, but that love can solve everything. We learn that we are enough ... at least most of us do. I want to tell them that they don't have to wait until they're in their 60's to learn that particular lesson like I did. Nobody should have to wait that long to master that particular class.
So to the Class of 2015, I send my love, my prayers for a happy, healthy and exciting tomorrow, and one piece of advice to take with you as you begin this new journey: Bloom Where You're Planted. Be the best "you" that you can possibly be regardless of where you find yourself. If you do that, you can't help but make the world a more beautiful place just because you're in it.
You may now throw your caps in the air!
And so it is.