Grad­u­a­tion is not where it stops, it’s where it be­gins......

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Iat­tended a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony over the past month and I knew of some oth­ers hap­pen­ing around the area too. The stu­dents were all so pumped about it. Af­ter all, it was their big day! I stood from a dis­tance as I ob­served and lis­tened and it dawned on me, they don’t know! They are so wrapped up in the gowns and the hats are sit­ting so nicely on their hands that they have not re­al­ized. When will it kick in? I kept ask­ing my­self! When will they re­al­ize that this is it! This is the mo­ment where I have to take over the race! There is no com­ing back to high school on Mon­day morn­ing. There are no take backs on my mis­takes.

Many of our young men and women have not re­al­ized that high school is a fun­da­men­tal part of the fu­ture. Ev­ery col­lege and univer­sity will want to know: Did you grad­u­ate? What were your grades like? So as I watched the stu­dents from such school, I won­dered how many were ready to face rejection; how many did not take school se­ri­ously and would now have to face the in­evitable, the un­con­trolled: “Sorry we can­not ac­cept you at this time. You do not meet the re­quire­ments.” Are they men­tally pre­pared for this?! Are they emo­tion­ally ready to face the “you need this grade and that grade to work with our com­pany!”? How many are ready to face un­em­ploy­ment? How many will fall to the tragedies of un­em­ploy­ment? Preg­nancy? Drugs? How many will walk out of this room and come back to de­liver a speech on suc­cess? Suc­cess not nec­es­sar­ily be­ing a busi­ness owner or a mil­lion­aire but one who thrived at the other lev­els life pre­sented.

My thoughts could not con­trol them­selves as I watched some of the smiles in the crowd. Oh, how happy they looked. The girls were all dolled up and the boys had such pre­cise hair­cuts. They cel­e­brated the “Big Day”. Big day, where you re­al­ize that when the hats are raised to the air that this will be the last time you are con­sid­ered just a child? Big day when you were made aware that so many of you will not be able to find proper jobs or any job for that mat­ter? Big day where you came to your senses about tak­ing school se­ri­ously but then re­al­ized that oh no, I didn’t do that? Big day where you were ready be­cause you had your dreams set and had ev­ery­thing in place and the monies in your back pocket to take flight? I couldn’t help but won­der how many stu­dents knew what grad­u­a­tion from high school meant. I couldn’t help but won­der how many smiles would soon sag and not be­cause the world is mean but be­cause they could have done bet­ter to pre­pare them­selves. How many will now have a tale to tell about not tak­ing their teach­ers se­ri­ously?

I do not judge when I say not many are born with a gold spoon in their mouth. I too was born with­out a spoon! So what prepa­ra­tion did we make for them for their big day? Did we coach them along the way? Did we tell them that at your high school grad­u­a­tion, when it’s all said and done and we sing the school an­them, you must face the world? Did we tell them just how cruel the world is? Did we tell them to ap­pre­ci­ate what you have now and hon­our your par­ents be­cause you will quickly un­der­stand what mummy had to go through to get you to school? Did daddy tell the boys that girls would not want to be with a broke, un­em­ployed man? But most im­por­tantly, did they lis­ten? Did they take Mr. Ran­jam se­ri­ously when he pleaded for them to save? When he begged for them to do the work and un­der­stand what was be­ing taught? Are our par­ents ready to have a young man or young woman home all day and with­out am­bi­tion? Did you no­tice just as yet that this was what you cre­ated when you fa­cil­i­tated his/her rudeness? Are they ready? I kept look­ing at the faces and I could al­most see the hand­ful that will make it out in one piece. Not be­cause their mum­mies and dad­dies are rich but be­cause they pushed! And then I lis­tened to the names be­ing hailed with hon­our! I saw the sad looks on some faces as they were never called. The rest­less­ness soon kicked in as they had to sit through the many speeches. How much more rest­less­ness and sleep­less­ness are they pre­pared to han­dle?

So why then do they call it the “Big Day”? A day where life will hit you within twenty four hours! It is only a good big day if you pre­pared your­self for it. Grad­u­a­tion is not all about the awards and the glam. It is sup­posed to be a cel­e­bra­tion for your “suc­cess” and to bid farewell and good luck to the next part. If grad­u­a­tion was des­tined only for stu­dents who were truly ready for the next level, how many grad­u­ates do you think we would have?

School is meant to be fun and yes there are days where we are all a bit more trou­ble­some than oth­ers. How­ever, as with any other thing, this too comes to an end. So as you play, as you fuss, re­mem­ber that YOU will de­ter­mine how this story ends. Mr. Ran­jam will con­tinue to be a teacher or what­so­ever he wants. Your prin­ci­pal did not get this po­si­tion be­cause he was de­fi­ant. Mrs. Sam’s life is set. She did not buy this job. I hope you were told all of this be­cause now that you’re read­ing my ar­ti­cle, it is prob­a­bly too late for you to go back and fix the dam­age. I say: if you fall in the cat­e­gory that did not push, use the time to do some­thing. Save some money and redo your ex­ams. Get into tech­ni­cal trade. You still have some time to make amends. Just make sure you use the time.

- S. Munchkins

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