Graphic by Michelle Nelson
Graduation is a monumental occasion which should be celebrated. (Graphic by Michelle Nelson / The Signpost)

Ah, winter break. For most students, it’s just the long-awaited-for holiday until January comes with a fresh set of classes to plow through.

However, for a lucky number of students, it’s graduation time. These students are likely feeling something close to Nirvana at the prospect of getting the heck outta here.

Relish the feeling, my friends.

I remember my graduation day from WSU only three years ago. I didn’t realize how excited I was to graduate until the photographer took a picture of me grasping my diploma folder. I was smiling so hard, my face felt like it was going to break. I would have included that picture with this article, but it’s far too embarrassing. Seriously, I looked like a buffoon, insane with happiness. I guess I was.

Anyone who makes it to graduation has worked hard for this accomplishment,  struggling their way to the finish line—the existence of which was often doubted.

And, here it is. Graduation. It’s pretty surreal.

I get it. My first go around, I took six years to get my bachelor’s. I had many tearful nights my senior year with all of the pressure and senior projects and feeling like I let my favorite history teacher down. I also had the extra weight of not knowing what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

In my last semester, I wasn’t terribly excited about graduation. But on my graduation day, all of the tears, laughter, work, friendships and everything else from my college experience rolled through my mind. All of the sudden, I was feeling nostalgic and simultaneously thrilled that I actually made it. It didn’t quite hit me until I walked across the floor and received my diploma with my family and friends cheering me on.

I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, but I was wide-eyed and ready to tackle the next part of my life.

Maybe some of you feel the same way I did. You will walk across the stage smiling as your fan club screams out your name, whooping and hollering for your huge accomplishment. You will clutch your diploma holder and smile like a crazy person for your graduation picture.

Then, you’ll meet your family in the lobby, hugging everyone, holding bouquets of flowers and posing for pictures with your friends.

It’s a great moment. And unfortunately like all great moments, it will pass. And, you will confront your next obstacle in life, toiling, crying and struggling toward the finish line. You’ll make mistakes and beat up on yourself. You’ll even want to give up.

And, that’s okay. Life is really hard sometimes, so when you get to the finish line, it’s okay to do a little victory dance. Times like these deserve to be celebrated.

Congratulations, to our 2015 winter graduates. I wish you a lifetime of crossing finish lines and celebrating accomplishments.

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