What Now?: Wise And Witty Advice For Life After Graduation

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As a teacher who has attended several dozen graduations, as an adult who can remember having been there myself, with all the attendant confusion and mixed emotions, I often wish there was something we could give to our graduates beyond just a diploma. A diploma, after all, speaks only to the past: This is what your life has been aboutthis is what you have achieved. Done. Finished. But it is not by accident that the word commencement is synonymous with graduation: commencement means a new start or beginning, implying the future rather than the past. So it seems to me that we are partially derelict in our duty to our graduates in handing them words on a diploma that only testify to what they did in the past at this ceremonyto truly mark commencement, we should also hand them words about what they can do in the future. Toni Morrison once wrote, If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. Here is that bookthe words I wished I had been handed when graduated, the words I wish I could hand to my students when they graduate, the words I wish we could hand to all of our students when they graduate.

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