Saturday, May 12, 2012

Graduation Musings

Yesterday was a day of good-byes and new beginnings.  The final board meeting of the year for the Arkansas Alumni Association National Board of Directors always occurs the Friday before graduation.  It is an all day board meeting with a luncheon in the middle where we say good-bye to our graduating alumni scholars.  It is always emotionally charged as they are caught between the sadness of saying good-bye, giddiness over what lies ahead of them, and intense gratitude as they thank their family, friends, professors, and the alumni who helped support their education the last four years. 

As one of those alumni, and a passionate advocate for the scholarship programs that help these students, I am usually misty-eyed and humbled throughout the event.  Yesterday was no exception.  I am always amazed by these 22 year olds (average age) with their presence, attitudes (great attitudes), optimism, gratitude, and humbleness.  They should be shouting, "I'm king of the world!"  Instead, they are saying, "Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you."

Ahhhh....

I am quite well aware of the challenges we face every day internationally, nationally, statewide, and in our local communities.  Very well aware.  That said, if there is any ray of sunshine for any of us, it has to be the bright, shining faces of a group of 22 year olds ready to take on the world. 

It must.

I absolutely love and hate this time of year.  It forces me to look at my own life and reflect of what the 22 year old me did with my optimism.  Did I squander it?  Use it?  Abuse it?  Grow it?  Invest it?  Savor it?

What???

This morning as I awoke at an unreasonable hour, for someone who could sleep in (*Sigh*).  Okay, I must digress a bit....the day was capped off by a group of us older, (maybe) wiser, idealists, crazy alumni sitting out on a deck listening to the Hogs win across the road at Baum Stadium, smoking cigars, laughing like a bunch of 22 year olds (and our average age was....well not 22 :)), watching fireworks, listening (okay some were singing...not me) to great classic rock music, and discussing the future of our Alma Mater, our alumni association, the Hogs, the state, taking over D.C. (I believe Underwood is going to take over the Department of Education. :)), and dreaming of more great days where every child in this world that wants an education...that wants to change the world...can and will. 

I digress. :)

The point is to let those 18 year olds graduating from high school (next week I will watch my sweet Jordan make that trek) and those 22 year olds graduating from college...and those older adults going back and graduating with their first degree, advanced degrees, etc.  The point is to latch onto all of that enthusiasm, optimism, and overall giddiness....and let it envelope you and seep into your pores.  Let it move you to recapture the 22 year old idealist, dreamer in you.  Let it re-charge your old dreams and make them new dreams.  Let it be the spark that creates brand, spanking, new dreams in you. 

Bottom line....let it change YOU.

"Never let your soul be silenced. Live life out loud. Every day tell your truth not with words but with actions from your heart." ~ Cory Booker

To all of the graduates in my life...to all of those graduates I do not know....Congratulations!!!  You inspire me...Every. Day. :)

Walton College marketing professor, Dr. Molly Rapert ~ My inspiration for over 20 years. :)

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

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