May 15, 2017

Congratulations and Graduation

By Robert Musser, Ph.D.


picture of a girl with a road mapYou made it to one degree or another.  You made it, and now it’s time to move on.  Go with our blessing.  Live well, be good, work hard, take care.

To those of you graduating this semester, congratulations on this important achievement.  To those who have courses yet to come and hurdles yet to clear, congratulations on your progress so far.  Take a break, and celebrate.  Celebrate with your classmates.  Celebrate with your partners and your families.  Those communities help make us who we are, and one way or another the ones standing alongside contributed to our success.  Some of them cheered you on and gave you needed motivation.  Some to them challenged you and made you prove that you could be better.  Some of them did the mundane tasks so you could concentrate on your studies.  Remember that lots of people celebrate with you: family and friends and mentors and colleagues.

Honor the Graduation Rituals

And remember too that milestones such as these are often marked by rituals.  New nurses are pinned and welcomed into the professional community of nursing.  Those of you who have demonstrated skilled expertise earn important certificates.  At graduation you will receive official degrees, and new PhDs will be hooded.  Rituals are important markers of initiation and accomplishment.  Rituals signal that we have taken on new identities and roles in society.  Rituals are communal acts that say something about what our lives mean.  Now, it’s true that rituals can be laborious and take work on our part, and who wants to jump through another hoop at this stage in the game?  Go ahead and honor the ritual.  Time-honored traditions have their place.  Even if you aren’t particularly enamored by the ritual, I’ll bet an especially tender parent or a loving spouse will care.  They will love to see and applaud the actual event.  These professional rituals should be honored.  Don’t neglect them, and do claim your rightful place among the accomplished.

So once again, congratulations.  Go with our best wishes.  As you go follow all that good motherly advice: brush your teeth, continue to study hard, be a good person, live well, work hard, take care of yourselves, wash your hands and behind your ears.
Bye for now.