Another graduation speech It is another spring which means it is also another season of baseball as well as the windup of college and professional basketball. It is, however, also time for graduations. Be it high school or college, seniors are donning their robes and tasseled hats as they receive their diplomas. Those special pieces of papers however don’t come free – one must first endure the graduation ceremony and all that it entails. And part of that is the keynote speaker with the commencement address.
A few are profound and many are boring. Anyone who has endured one in the distant past will agree that they all are forgettable. By the time 10 or 20 years or more pass, we all forget those purported words of wisdom. I had the occasion recently to attend a graduation. As an observer I can attest that they haven’t changed over the years. During those 150 minutes or so, I heard, as the graduates did, another commencement speech given by someone who talked about excellence. The speech was not memorable and I’m sure will soon be forgotten.
However, all that doesn’t deter me from thinking what I might say in one of those speeches. Actually I wrote one last year as one of my entries here. Since it is a new year, I thought I’d write a new one. Few will read it and in all likelihood, any reader of this will be far removed in years from their own graduation ceremony. But just maybe, someone will read it and pass it along to someone they know is graduating. But even if that were to occur, I know this will be remembered about as long as any of those other speeches delivered. Anyway, here goes.
Dear graduate –
Graduation day is here- the endurance test is over. Your years of toiling over books, writing reports and calculating numbers are behind you. You have arrived. I know if someone asked you where you are now you would probably say at the top of the mountain. The climb is over, the tortuous path and steep hills left far behind. Astride of the mountain top, you can look down with pride and see the evidence of your trek. Challenges met, hurdles overcame, problems and issues resolved. Now there arises the question – the “now what” question. Where do I go from here, what does the future hold for me? So you gaze out from your mountain top looking for the answer. And lo and behold, there it is, immediately ahead of you, the answer to your question – another mountain to climb!!!
For the high school graduate that new mountain might be additional years of schooling at the university level or it might be the start of your career. For the college graduate it certainly is the start of your career. In either case, it seems every time you conquer a mountain, you look around only to find there is a higher mountain you need to climb in your journey through life. Mt. More Schooling, Mt. Career, Mt. New job, Mt. Marriage, Mt. Children, Mt. Ill Health – the range of mountain peaks never seem to end. Recall that the climb that got you to where you are today involved sheer cliffs that needed to be scaled and gorges you might have tumbled into and crawled out of, and so it will be as you climb those new mountains.
There will be challenges and delays and detours, but just as you were able to conquer the mountain that got you to where you are today, so can you reach those new mountain tops. What I shared with you here is nothing profound – just short and sweet; everyone who has gone before you knows this is the nature of life and living. As you survey the world from your mountain top today, always remember that you did reach the top. And if you persevere and apply yourself to reaching the tops of those new mountains as you did to get to this place today – you will succeed.