Graduation is in the Air – Letter to our Future Leaders

By Mark A. Leon

Reflections of Graduation 2017:  All the buzz is in the air this brisk morning as the soon to be graduates of the College of Charleston prepare for the honorary ceremony that will beckon their call to the trials and tribulations of life’s journey: professional achievement or personal failure. Gowned in white dresses and tuxedos, these bright eyed and bushy tailed students are ready for the next stop.

Some biking to the ceremony, others, walking alone and in groups and some crawling recovering from an evening of celebration. One student may have truly summed up the package in one permanent visionary memory. A long white gown with a dozen red roses and Red Bull in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Promise, gluttony, and addiction all wrapped up in one.

Today is a day of family and a day where we leave social status and prejudice behind and reflect on academic achievement. This is the moment when our youth steps out of the Utopian society of college and into the melting pot of life.

Happy Hour is replaced by staff meetings, fraternity parties by the Tonight Show and all-nighters, well they never go away.

With career planning books shelved at the bookstore and cases of champagne waiting to be uncorked it is a blend of pure emotion ranging from exuberance to fear. What is going through the minds of students at this defining stage? Post graduate studies, travel abroad, career, unemployment, following in their parents footsteps, continuing the same lifestyle, athletics or living for the next sunrise. So many questions without answers, so many decisions with lifetime repercussions.

This is a time of discovery; a time of judgement

There are hundreds of thousands of articles written about you, the Millenials.  Some call you the creative renaissance; others the lazy generation where every moment is defined by a SnapChat or a 140 character observation,  Some say you are focused; while many claim you lack direction.  At the end of the day, you are not a defined as a group.  You are not a collective new generation, but the individual person you see on the other side of the mirror.  You define you.

When you look back fondly on those walks down Calhoun Street, late nights at Addlestone, dreaming on Cistern Yard or lazy days at Marion Square, know you did something great in life.

To you, the college graduate, your time is now.
This is your chance to take your education and make a difference.
We salute you, wish you luck and thank you in advance for the impact you will make in the future.

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