College graduation, like high school graduation, is a huge milestone. It is the start of something new and exciting in your life. However, what does sitting through a ceremony with your 5,000 closest classmates do to put you ahead in your new journey. For the top performers in the class, it’s a time to subtly brag a little bit. But, for the average college student, it is simply to walk across the stage and receive an empty portfolio.
I graduated college on May 14, 2016. Many of my closest friends were so excited for the day. Others were dreading it because their parents were making them walk. When I told them I wasn’t attending graduation they were all floored. “Why wouldn’t you want to go and be recognized for this huge accomplishment?” The answer for me was simple. When I started college, I planned on graduating. It was just something I knew was going to happen. When that day arrived, I was excited, but it wasn’t for the ceremony. It was because of my dads awesome boss giving my parents and I tickets to go and see an indy car race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a luxury suite.
I think one thing a lot of new college graduates struggle with is letting go and moving on to the next portion of their lives. The college life was insanely fun, and I wouldn’t change it for a second, but really graduation day is just the start of your story.
I have always had big plans for myself. I call them plans because if I were to consider them “goals” that would leave an outlet to not achieve them. My plans have often times been brushed off by most, and even laughed at by my own family! But deep in my bones, I know that it will someday happen.
This journey that we’re all on is one that very few get the opportunity to have, so why would you settle with average? I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk. One of the lessons that he preaches is that we only have one life. As far as any of us know there are no do-overs. You don’t get a second chance just because you weren’t dealt the best hand the first time around. Due to so many of us lacking a trust fund, college fund, or inheritance from some relative you’ve never met, we have to work. So why not be the best at whatever it is that you choose to do?
That brings me back to why I chose not to walk in my graduation. It’s because I didn’t need to. I was comfortable enough with myself and the plans that I had put in place that I didn’t need a pat on the back for completing something that I had planned on doing my entire life. I want recognition for being extraordinary at what I choose to do in the real world. I don’t need a participation award for finishing in the middle of the pack. Like I had previously stated graduating college is only the beginning in my eyes. After graduation is when life starts. You get the chance to go out and be great at whatever you choose to do. The market doesn’t care if you have that degree from Harvard. If you are talented enough, even a kid from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater can win.