Last year, about this time, high school and college graduations were abruptly cancelled, due to the pandemic. This left not a small number of people let down, because the celebrations were muted, if they happened at all. Here we are this year, still locked down in some places and still social distancing, the promise of vaccinations to end the pandemic. Once again, a lot of graduations ceremonies have been put on hold. It’s been a challenging year, to say the least, but one that has brought out our innate creativity to find other ways to safely mark these occasions.
Students, parents and teachers, you are to be congratulated and celebrated for being flexible and adaptable in meeting these education challenges! You have succeeded where you could have given up, and the world is better for it. And while formal education experiences have been different, some things remain the same when it comes to education and being successful after graduation.
First of all, it helps to remember that as we near the achievement of our goals, we begin to lose the drive to finish. The gap between our starting point and the goal we want to achieve has become quite small, and the amount of energy and creativity that was so great when we started, is now on the wane. In order to boost up your energy, it’s time to re-set the goal toward an even greater end. Once you do, you will find yourself energized and full of anticipation of the next journey to come.
Regardless of your field or interests, education by and of itself is not going to be enough to get you where you want to go. You have done a lot of work in school and you rightfully want to reap some rewards for that work. But the rewards that you earn, both material and otherwise, will not come from the knowledge you have, but rather the uses to which you put that knowledge.
The world will not pay you for what you know. It will, however, pay you for what you can do with what you know. This means that you need to have the courage to act on your knowledge – to think creatively, risk criticism and failure, and to curb your anxiety level when the pressure is on. This is where your positive and re-affirming self-talk comes into play. The things you say and think to yourself can either undermine or enhance your efforts.
Taking risks means moving out of your comfort zone. The things you say to yourself and the pictures you hold in your mind will be critical to how successfully you make that move. Believe in yourself and see yourself succeeding, no matter what happens, and reality will bear you out. You have done this before, with each new school year and each new class. And if you’ve done it once, you can do it again!