The word commencement not only means the ceremony that happens where one receives their degree it also means the beginning. College graduates across the country this month will be receiving their degrees but also beginning the next stages of their life. It is very odd for me to not be part of the pomp and circumstance (pun intended) that surrounds this time of year. The reflections, preparation for transition and celebration that is a part of the end of an academic year is a time that I always greet with mixed feelings. To work in Higher Education is to know that life becomes quite cyclical and you can expect certain things and emotions at certain times of the year, however it is never the same, because we are talking about people.
I have not been a part of creating the reflection space, transition conversations or celebration for college students this year but I have done those things for myself. I have reflected a lot, through this blog, conversations with friends and former colleagues and in meditation and yoga. I have thought about what transition should and could look like for me, what I want to do next and how to best get there. I have also celebrated; celebrated this gift of time that I have been given and certainly took advantage of the time in a really positive way. So really this is the first year that I can recall in recent history that has been focused on taking care of me. I have seen the results of this already in deepened relationships with friends and my community. And I know this time will serve to make me a better professional, one who not just understands but lives 'I am no good to others if I do not take care of myself'.
I am ready to commence, to begin whatever the next step in life holds for me. I am no longer freaking out (See Six Months Have Passed) and really do believe that life will unfold as it should. I believe that things happen when and how they are supposed to. I also believe that this does not mean you can just sit back and wait for this to happen, you must be an active participant in creating your life. I have been an active participant in creating my life and I am ready for the next stage to commence.
A commencement is a time of joy. It is also a time of melancholy. But then again, so is life. ~Paul Tsongas