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Graduation Season

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

by Mary Ellen Eagan

I went to two graduations this week.  The first was my god-daughter, Lauren, who graduated from Wheaton College with a major in History and an interest in finding a job.  The other was my daughter Greta’s graduation from pre-school – only twelve more years until she starts college; no retirement for me until 2025!

It occurs to me that graduating from college in the worst economic climate in most of our lives is probably quite challenging.  However, I have learned over the last few months (from graduating seniors) that it can be rather liberating to have low expectations for launching into a career.  For the first time in many years, graduates are not rushing to make a buck on Wall Street or the Internet, but thinking about what they really want to do – and many (like Lauren) are choosing to seek opportunities to make the world a better place.  Even if that means waiting tables on the side.

And what about Greta?  She sang ‘It’s a small world’ with her multi-cultural preschool class (including sign language), knows all about Facebook, and is ready to take the world by storm.  Good thing too, since we’ve just burdened her with a giant deficit.  I hope that one benefit of the current recession is that kids (and parents) will be less focused on building resumes and more focused on learning.  Wouldn’t it be great if we just gave our kids time to be curious rather than pushed to be excellent?

And since Dr. Seuss is Greta’s favorite author, it seems only fitting to close with this:

You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.  And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.

Oh the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss