I graduated from college yesterday. I spent the last five years attending Westminster College and yesterday was a day that I wasn't sure would ever come. I majored in Aviation: Flight Operations and spent much of my time at the airport, flying airplanes. I haven't flown in a while but I think I ended up with about 350 hours. I earned my private, instrument, commercial, and multi-engine ratings. Toward the end of my education, I decided that flying probably isn't for me. This change of heart was a result of many things, but most of all because my eyes were opened to all the other opportunities in the aviation industry. There is a place for me out there, somewhere. I just need to find it.
I was originally pursuing an art minor, which is why it took me an extra year to finish. After taking more classes and trying to figure things out, it just made more sense to switch to an aviation management minor.
Yesterday was everything I thought it would be, and more. I was continually reminding myself to be present, because I didn't want to miss anything. I want to remember it all: the inspirational speakers, the feelings and emotions, even how everything looked, forever. I was in awe of the caliber of people I was surrounded by, and truly honored to be able share that day with them.
I am grateful to have participated in the tradition of the graduation processional. I thought a lot about how strange the whole thing is. We put on weird hats with tassels hanging off of them. We wear silly robes and cords with more tassels. And we are honored and congratulated by people wearing even stranger things: the colorful robes with velvet, hoods, and hats that make even less sense. It seemed to me that the stranger one was dressed, the more honorable they were.
After looking at all the professors with their weird clothes and hats, and watching the masters graduates, with their hoods, it made my accomplishment feel rather small in comparison. I really admire those who can continue their education beyond an undergraduate degree. It has made me reconsider continuing my education to get a masters degree.
I finished my undergraduate degree with few regrets. I can only think of two:
1: I wish I would have given more effort during my first few years. At that point I felt like I had so far to go and like I had time to make things better later. When I started seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, I had an "oh crap!" moment and got my stuff together. My lowest grade was a B-, and I still graduated with honors, but I feel like I could have done better, and would have done better had I put forth more effort in the early years.
2: I wish I would have been more involved in campus activities and made more friends. I wish I would have lived on campus, even though that would mean that I would be in even MORE debt right now. I suppose I didn't really care at the time because I wasn't going to college to make friends. I had something more important to accomplish. Then yesterday, I really wanted to be able to share that day with friends. I felt kind of alone in a big sea of graduates. Granted, most of my friends graduated last year and I probably wouldn't have felt that way if I graduated on time. I just feel like I missed out on some opportunities there.
I didn't think I would be sad about my college career ending. And I suppose I am not sad that it is over, but more sad that, as my dad said, this chapter in my life has ended. But alas, the time has come to move on. Although, I'm not entirely sure what I am moving on to.
|My diploma, framed and ready to be hung.|