By Anna Sommer
Team Manager, Academic Advising at American Public University
The last few weeks have been hectic for many students. Final classes, final papers, final exams, graduation applications, and commencement ceremonies are some of the activities that have been taking place at colleges and universities across the country. It’s easy to get lost in the business and details of all this, or even want to quickly move on to whatever comes next. However, reflection is sometimes one of the best ways to gain perspective on everything that’s taken place, so I’d like to remind all students of why you were here, pursuing a degree, in the first place, and how this part of the journey is really the foundation for your next adventure. I draw my inspiration for inspiring students for their next step from Dr. Seuss’s memorable book, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
One of my favorite things to see when working with students is your passion. You care! Some of you want to change the way we impact the environment. Some of you want to influence the way we interact with other nations. Whatever your area of passion may be, you all individually see things in your life, your community, your country, or the world that ignite something inside you. This passion makes for some fantastic individuals who care enough to face tomorrow’s challenges.
Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if you only try!
One of the most valuable skills you have learned on your academic journey is how to think. Your degree was a path set out to inspire thoughts, ideas, questions, research, exploration, and maybe a few answers. Most likely, any answers you found only led to more thoughts, ideas, questions, research, and exploration. That’s the point. Keep thinking!
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
It’s easy to think of a degree as a final product. You’ve completed all the assignments, passed all the courses, and jumped every hoop necessary to graduate. In doing so, you’ve built a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that you can take with you. However, the degree itself doesn’t mean learning is over. There is still knowledge to pursue, new skills to acquire, and experiences to explore. Be open to learning, even after graduation.
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
Graduation can be a mix of emotions: excitement, anticipation, happiness, and sometimes a feeling of sadness by the thought of something significant coming to an end. Whatever feelings you have, remember to smile. YOU worked hard. YOU graduated! YOU did it!
See how our graduates inspired one another, and let their hair down at APUS Commencement 2015.