12-18-15 Graduation (Emily Crooks)-6-2.jpg
A graduate walks in Weber State University's commencement ceremony in Fall 2015. (Emily Crooks / The Signpost Archives)

As the fall semester draws to a close, many of you are anticipating a well-deserved, if short-lived break from the grind of academic life.

For some however, it’s graduation day.

Congratulations! Now what?

Get comfortable with that question, folks. You’ll likely be answering it numerous times over the coming weeks and months.

It’s a legitimate question: What are you, Mr. or Ms. Graduate, going to do now?

Some of you have been at this college thing for a long time. Yours truly took his first college classes almost twenty years ago.

I’ve taken abnormal psychology, where I learned that I’m bat-shit crazy; personal finance, where I learned I’m broke and sociology, where I learned that we’re all screwed.

Some of you overachievers were half-way done before you stepped foot on campus. You probably know exactly what you’re doing, don’t you?

Regardless of how long or short your college journey has been, I have some unsolicited advice for you: Keep. Going.

That’s it. Simple, direct and straight to the point — all of which I did NOT learn in my modern philosophy class.

Keep. Going.

To grad school you ask? Absolutely. Into the workforce? Definitely. Marriage? Only if they’re the “one.”

Keep. Going.

At this stage in the game, you’ve earned some “cred” that doesn’t show up on your official transcripts. Some real “street-cred” that is about to be the single most important thing you take from this place, well aside from your student loan promissory note.

It’s known by many names. Feel free to choose your own word for it: guts, nuts, grit or the shiznit.

You’ve got it. You’ve earned it. You are it.

I’ve had the privilege of attending classes with some of you. It’s just as likely that I attended classes with your parents or older siblings.

One common element across the generations of Weber State graduates is that they did it — they finished, they found a way.

You made it through the all-night cram sessions, the APA and MLA, and perhaps most impressively, that half-wit lab partner you carried through the semester.

You made it because you have (insert chosen word here)! Big time.

Keep. Going.

School is a micro chasm of the “real world,” and you just checked the hell out of that box. You’re ready for what comes next, no matter what it is.

This then is perhaps the most important lesson for you to have learned in all your days here: You can and will find a way.

You’ll continue to face challenges and adversity. You’ll trade dates for diapers and biology for bottles, horrible lab partners for horrible co-workers and student loans for home loans, but you will find a way.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”

You, Mr. or Ms. Graduate, proved you had the ambition, worked your tail off for it and have won your prize. Congratulations!

Now what?

Keep. Going.

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