By Rob Ficiur
This week we had the chance to watch our son get his degree at the University of Lethbridge convocation. We counted about twelve Bow Island / Foremost and County of Forty Mile residents who were getting some kind of degree. These young people and the High School grads, get advice from all sides at these times. My suggestions are simple and user friendly. While directed to our graduate the principles can apply to all who have finished school this season.
1. You have come a long ways. A year ago you tried to teach me some of the biochemistry stuff you were learning at University. You presented the information with an enthusiasm that was almost contagious. Your instruction was great, but my understanding of all those big words was not so much. The more you explained the more confused I was. What I did realize is how far you have come in learning your chosen field.
2. Graduation ceremonies began with National Anthem and a prayer. Be grateful to live in Canada. It is easy to take for granted the good things we have and focus on the scandals and areas we need to improve. Appreciating what we have is the first step to improving our nation, province, community and ourselves.
The convocation’s opening prayer recognized and gave thanks to a power far beyond ourselves. Prayer and gratitude can help you get you through many of the challenges you will face in the future.
3. Loud and Quiet Cheers – As each graduates’ name was called, some were followed by very loud cheers while others received more subdued clapping. The quieter applause can be just as encouraging in the day to day tasks of life. (Yelling that loud too often would hurt one’s voice box permanently).
4. Clap for everyone – Your 18 month old nephew clapped his best for every name as audience gave applauded. Every graduate deserves a clap and a pat on the back as they move forward.
5. People were there to support you – Four generations of family celebrated graduation with you. Your parents and grandparents have known you since you were born. We have seen you grow to maturity. Your nieces and nephews already think you are their hero.
6. Married Life and your marks – For the last two years of your university degree you were married. As your Bishop predicted, your university marks went up after you were married. When someone is depending on us we do better. (PS – It helps that you married someone as wonderful as you did.)
7. Graduating in Troubled Times – As you graduate the world that will greet you is full of economic and political uncertainty. The same uncertainties existed 28 years ago when I graduated from University. Uncertainty and trouble faced the world 60 years ago when your grandparents were first married. Every generation deals with the what if’s of the future. Little media attention goes on the great possibilities that exist in our world today. You can deal with the challenges opportunities that await you.
8. Career Paths Have Unexpected Turns – At graduation Austin Mardon was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree. His career path could have been derailed when he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age 30. He turned this disability into a strength by becoming a spokesperson for people suffering from Mental Illness. The side roads in our careers can bring great personal rewards.
9. Time flies by – One speaker at Graduation said that you will leave a legacy in your career. “How can that be?” I thought, “These young people have barely graduated.” Then I realized, it seems like only a short time ago that I was finishing university and starting a family. Time flies by and now I am the experienced veteran (not an old person).
10. Have Fun – If you find a career you enjoy then you never have to go to work. You can do what you like to do and get paid for it.
Congratulations to graduates wherever you are.