One of the great joys in my current life as a communication professor at both Curry College (undergrad full-time) and Regis College (grad part-time) is being able to participate in the colleges’ commencement ceremonies.

In my previous life as a communication professional, I would have been involved in the maddening planning/implementation process and probably wouldn’t (I know I wouldn’t!) have the same cheerful experience.

But that was then, and this is now.

Now I am able to sit back and observe. I can focus on the faces of the soon-to-be grads, watch their interactions with friends and family, and enjoy the exhilarating excitement.

For a few of these folks (mostly the graduate degree-earners but some, like me long ago, professionals earning their second bachelor’s degree), there’s an air of “been-there, done-that.”

But, for the majority, there’s a sense of trepidation…of uncertainty about what’s next.

And there’s an air of (perhaps naïve) self-confidence. “I’ve done this… I can do anything!”

That’s the beauty and the wonder of the educational experience.

You learn new things or more about things you already knew.

You learn new things about yourself… about your strengths and your weaknesses… your likes and your dislikes… your real self.

And you have come to that point where the course of the rest of your life rests squarely on your shoulders.

But that has been the purpose of this exercise anyway, hasn’t it? To prove yourself? To test the limits of your willpower?

And it doesn’t change as you proceed through the rest of the maze.

There will be job changes, voluntary and otherwise.

There will be (hopefully) increasing expectations of your ability to produce… to rise to the occasion and deliver amazing results for a client or employer.

There will be times when, in spite of your best efforts and intentions, “things will blow up,” as I have been known to say time and again.

But you can do it. Or, at the very least, you can try to do it. Because, at the end of the day, which is better?

“Gee, if only I had…”

or

“Wow…what a great experience!”

“And many a broken heart is here and many a broken head;
But tomorrow,
By the living God, we’ll try the game again!”

~John Masefield, “Tomorrow”

Image: Kit McAllister via Flickr, CC 2.o

Kirk Hazlett

Kirk Hazlett

Professor at Curry College
Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, holds the position of Associate Professor, Communication/ Public Relations, at Curry College. He also is a member of the Public Relations Society of America's Board of Ethics and Professional Standards. Kirk has 35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience, followed by nearly 10 years' undergraduate- and graduate-level college teaching experience. Some of the organizations he has counseled include the Blood Bank of Hawaii, Medical Area Service Corporation and Boston Harborfest. He blogs at A Professor's Thoughts.
Kirk Hazlett