To graduate is to move forward into life's next phase

To graduate is to move forward into life’s

5 18 17

The Issue: Many people think graduations mark an ending.

Our View: Commencement ceremonies celebrate the future.

The Carlinville High School class of 2017  will soon be set loose upon the world. They’ve completed the required 12 years of education necessary to earn a diploma. While some will choose to immediately enter the workforce as a full-time worker, others will further their education by entering colleges, universities and trade schools.

Although many consider graduation a ceremony marking the completion of one’s education, that’s really not the case. To graduate is to move from one phase to another. The word directly implies there is more to come. For these students, the commencement ceremony is the beginning of a new phase of their lives. As young people, it’s natural for our students to look back on their 12 years of education and think of what they’ve accomplished, but the significance of the occasion lies in what is yet to come.

It has been said the most important thing in anyone’s life is always what they’re about to do next. The next thing is more important and meaningful than anything one has done in the past or anything to take place in the future. Sure, it’s fun to reminisce and look back from time to time, but it’s a mistake to linger there for too long. Those who say their years spent in high school were the best of their lives are those who never went out and did anything else. High school is a small blip on the radar screen. Keep it in perspective.

Without question, it’s important to finish one’s basic education, but that’s what it is — basic. The first 12 years of school are designed to expose students to the basics of many different areas of study in order for them to find what interests them. What students don’t always understand is that just because they have no interest in a certain area now, doesn’t mean it won’t interest them in the future. There’s nothing more tedious than having to go back and revisit an area of study as an adult because he/she didn’t apply themselves to learning the material when they had the chance in high school.

No one ever became a genius simply by what they learned in school. School provides the basics. Those who achieve and experience high levels of success in life are those who explore their interests outside the classroom. It’s one thing to learn a series of facts or to regurgitate something read in a book. Applying those facts and using them to develop one’s own theories and methods is quite another. That is the source of intelligence; the ability to develop one’s own point-of-view in an applicable way.

Education is an interactive thing. It always has been. School isn’t about teachers lecturing and handing out tests and homework assignments. Education occurs when the information provided by teachers and learning materials is met with students willing to immerse themselves in it. When this perspective is considered, it makes a public education a very private thing because it drives home the fact that each student is responsible for his/her own immersion. Free will being what it is, no teacher or school district can force a student to get with the program. The student much choose whether he/she is a bystander or a participant –a choice that will reoccur throughout one’s life.

Everyone defines success differently. The only constant is no one is simply handed a successful life or career. Success is born from a combination of effort, tenacity and circumstances.

We hope this year’s graduates understand they can help create positive circumstances by making good decisions. Things don’t always go as planed and bad things happen to everyone, that’s why it’s important to be tenacious and keep trying. With a substantial amount of effort and willingness to keep trying, opportunities can be created.

We at the Macoupin County Enquirer-Democrat wish much luck to our graduates with the understanding the bigger part of luck is hard work. Don’t be afraid to try new things and don’t get discouraged if you have a difficult time finding your path in life. Sometimes people find their way through process of elimination. There’s nothing wrong with that, just don’t give up.