According to social media, another 1000+ graduates turned their tassels this past weekend at the University of Central Oklahoma. 10 years ago, I sat where they sat. As I listened to the names of my fellow graduates being read and watched as each accepted their degree, my mind was elsewhere. As soon as I walked off that basketball court, everything would be different. What was expected of me would change. My contributions would need to change. Responsibilities would shift fully in my direction. This life would become fully mine for the taking. The direction I had to choose was mine and mine alone. Happiness, success, contentment, and joy would be up to me. It all felt overwhelming. It was enough to make me want to get up walk out and pretend it never happened. Unfortunately, that simple act wouldn't change facts. Turning my tassel and walking away from UCO would change everything.
As many of my fellow graduates can attest, life came fast and it was nothing like what I expected. Your university experience and the experience shared by college students all around the country is really good at cementing confidence within you. The world is really good at putting you in your place. For some, jobs will come easily. For others, the road may be tiresome and disappointing. You may discover your degree prepared you perfectly or you want nothing to do with your chosen field. A few of you will find your dream job straight out of college. Most of you will spend your remaining years searching for something that may never come. It is my simple hope that our choice of institution prepared us for the paradoxes of life. I know it did for me.
10 years later, I am not where I thought I would be. Perhaps, I suffered from delusions of granger. Maybe, I haven't planned adequately. Maybe, I have missed opportunities. Or, maybe I am right where I am supposed to be. Only the test of time can judge such things. I, like many of you who graduated this weekend, live a life filled with fear of unmet potential. I don't want my life to be wasted or lived in vain. I am of the belief that I only get one shot at this thing, therefore I should make the most of it. I know wholeheartedly that my education prepared me to squash my fear. In my mind, that preparation was worth the price of admission. If UCO is worth anything, you will be saying the same thing 10 years from now.
Be good to each other,