This weekend the hubby and I were picking out cards for a few high school graduates. They had the typical, “the sky is the limit” and “good luck in this next chapter” kind of cards to choose from. Having had two high school graduates and one college graduate it got me thinking about the difference between the two.
There is something so exciting and fresh about high school graduates. They are experiencing freedom for the first time in their lives. They have finished 13 years of school and they have made it to the next chapter. They are all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and excited to not have a summer reading list or SAT study group to attend. Their joy is palpable and you can’t help but be excited for them. Finishing high school and beginning the next chapter whether it’s college, work or something else is exciting and new. For a lot of students it’s the beginning of something completely different from anything they have experienced thus far. Many are moving out, joining the military, studying for a career that they are interested in, or taking a gap year to figure it all out. There is this strange mix of excitement, fear, hopefulness, freedom and possibility that feels like the world is truly whatever they want it to be.
College graduates, on the other hand, are typically overjoyed at finally being done with school, but equally terrified that they have to become a real adult. There is a sense of responsibility that wasn’t present before. Their fresh eyes from four years ago have been blurred a little by things like student loans, job applications, interviews, and moving out of the arms of campus living. There is a certain level of comfort that those 4 years provide and it shows on the faces of these college graduates. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of joy, but the fresh eyes tend to be on the parents of these college grads. They are the ones who have MADE IT! For the first time in 22 years they are seeing a tiny shimmering light at the end of the tunnel and it’s called, “potential financial freedom.” I say potential because I am not sure when you are actually free. I mean our college grad is getting ready to start graduate school next week and while she took out student loans, we are still paying for everything else. The potential is there though and it feels good.
Back to those 18-year-olds with the fresh eyes. Don’t dampen their spirits, don’t give them a dose of reality, or tamp down their dreams. Let them relish in their accomplishments and celebrate their freedom. Real life will come soon enough.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G