The 17-year Marathon
For the last three-and-a-half years I’ve sifted and winnowed and soaked up all the information I could. Last Sunday, for the last time, I sang “Varsity” as a student before turning my tassel from the right side of the mortar board to the left. I have arrived at the finish line of a 17-year-long marathon whose sole purpose was to prepare me to enter the world around me, and maybe make a difference along the way. At times it felt like I progressed at a sprint, at others a mere crawl, but I’ve arrived at the finish line—and a new starting gate—nonetheless.
I want to take a moment to thank the people who have had a hand in my educational experiences: my elementary school teachers, extra-curricular advisors, professors, mentors, friends, and of course, my family. This accomplishment is as much mine as it is yours—well, more so mine, but I couldn’t have done it without you. To all educators, I, and a lot of others, owe you an incredible debt of gratitude. Because of you I am better able to understand my world and those who are different, engage in the broader community, and critically think about information I’m presented with.
A few weeks ago, one of my professors shared, “Not everyone knows what you know here,” as he was lecturing, recognizing that the pursuit of an education—higher education, no less—is not equally accessible. I recognize that I am graduating from a world-renowned university, with a degree in business, at a time the job market favors job-seekers with credentials. The information I’ve received in lectures and labs has been theoretical at times, but more, it's been really practical. This information can positively shape the way the world of business and commerce operates, and in turn impact the lives of many people—beyond just those in the state. This is my promise to that professor, and all of you, that I will not use my education, and the information I hold, for the sole benefit of myself. I’m in the process of working on a project to these ends, and I hope to have more on that in the near future, so stay tuned!
You may be asking, in the words of President Jed Bartlet, “What’s next?” I started working full-time last week—because there’s no time like the present! At the end of January, I will be traveling to Europe—blogging along the way—to visit Paris, Lisbon, Lagos (Portugal), Barcelona, and Florence. If you’ve been, and have advice on places to visit, please let me know. And chances are, in the next few years, I’ll be back in the classroom because I don’t think my educational marathon is over quite yet—I’m just pausing for a breather.
As for the next few weeks and months to come I’m most excited to reclaim my Sundays from homework and group project meetings, have my time after 5:00 on the weekdays be mine, and, for now, I’m excited to have a cup of coffee before work—and to be able to catch the first hour of the Today Show, rather than just the third.