Commencement: the beginning of new things; the inception of a new stage of life. I think back to the three commencements that I've had the opportunity to achieve admission to; those three pivotal stages of my life stamped with black ink inside a program. From high school, to my Bachelors, to my Masters- they all meant something different. They all represented a new opportunity; a new chance to invest in my future. There's no dollar sign large enough to place on authentic experiences. Commencements represent the conquering of experiences. They are symbolic of achievements that outweigh the struggle to gain admission.
My high school commencement convinced me that education mattered. It gave me an opportunity to break the cycle of un-fulfillment and unfinished business in my family. I remember walking across the stage and hearing my late cousin Tottie, above the hundreds in the crowd, yell, "Handle it Big-T!". Hearing her voice, knowing my family was there, I knew I'd made it and there was no turning back.
College was the best years of my life. Coming from a small town to a big city, I had every opportunity to sink; but I swam. I swam as hard as I could to survive new experiences, most positive and some negative, but most of all these experiences were crucial in developing the woman that I am today. Even on the day of my college graduation, I couldn't believe I was there. I couldn't believe it was coming to an end, and that I achieved another milestone in my life. I didn't know exactly what it meant to be a college graduate, but I knew it meant that I was supposed to do something more with my life; that once again there was no turning back. Walking out of the University of Houston that very warm day in May, seeing the smiling faces of my family- especially my mom- meant more to me than the accomplishment itself. There's nothing like realizing you just achieved a parents dream; to know that those life lectures your parents continually drilled in your head about the things they wanted you to achieve- had come true. There I was giving my mom and my family, a priceless gift that could never be replaced. But, I wasn't done.
My Uncle EKT aka "Butch", pushed me further. He didn't do it directly, but he motivated me by achieving one of his lifelong goals. Attending his Masters commencement made me think about ambition. The greater your commitment to your ambitions, the greater opportunities you will invent in your life. You can invest in yourself in a multitude of ways, but the kind of investment you make ultimately determines its [the investment] contribution to your life. When I received my Masters, I forgot about all the money and time I put into getting to commencement, and I thought about the investment I put into my life. The calculation was priceless, and because I never looked back- it continues to open opportunities in my life.
And now, I sit in my best-friends commencement. Watching her with hoodie in hand, and I think to myself, "I'm still not done." There's one more commencement in the world of education for me, and there's many more commencements left in my LIFE. My ambitions are bigger than my fears and my doubts. There are few principles that others can convince me: to be humble, to be persistent in my goals, and to inspire others. Getting to commencements instilled these within me.
Think about your commencements in life. If you can't identify any, it's not too late. Life is full of opportunities to start again; to begin the re-investment of your life. Find it in faith, family, work- whatever motivates you. But whatever you do, find IT; that trigger that we all have inside to be successful. It's a need; a necessity- within us all. The key is making a commitment to find and focus on IT. Celebrate your commencements. Never look back other than to reflect; always look forward; know who and what is on your side.