Students and parents should not be sad about graduation


G. L. Kohuth

Graduates cheer along with the MSU fight song at the university commencement ceremony on Friday May 6, 2011.

As the clock winds down for the Class of 2018, the anticipation for graduation grows. And as this feeling of excitement, uncertainty, and happiness grows, so do the number of questions. For the past few days, adults and teachers alike have been constantly asking me, along with other seniors, about how I feel about finishing high school.

“Aren’t you sad?” “What are you going to do with your last days?” “What do you hope people remember you as?”

To be honest with you, I don’t think any of these questions matter. Sure, it’s bittersweet to be finishing up high school. While it is a huge milestone to finally graduate, I think people are treating graduation the wrong way.

To me, it feels like some people are sad I’m moving on with my life. I feel slightly judged when I tell people I am excited about graduation and moving on to college. Why is it expected that students should be sad when they finish high school?

Sure, it’s scary. It’s a huge milestone and change, but it isn’t something to be upset about. Time constantly keeps moving forward; we can’t fixate on one moment forever. If we were constantly stuck in a single moment, a single setting, or a single place, there would be no personal development. People aren’t made to be stationary. People are volatile, and we need to respect them and their decisions with whatever path they choose to go down. For those who desire to stay in one place forever, they need to try to get outside of their comfort zone and explore new things. 

I’m not saying we shouldn’t treat graduation as a big deal, because it is. But graduating isn’t something to be sad about.

There is so much life that lays ahead. In the grand scheme of things, these past four years are just a tiny fraction of everything that is to come. Why aren’t people excited about the future?

It’s scary to have this level of uncertainty. We’ve been sheltered, living with the same family, surrounded by the same friends and same settings. We finally get to turn the page in our choose your own adventure book. Isn’t that exciting? For the first time in our lives, the world is finally in your hands.

Next year, I am going to be stepping into a whole different world on a whole new journey. And being completely honest, I don’t think I’m sad about it. Will I miss high school? Yes, but I think I am looking forward to my next chapter rather than being stuck in the previous ones.  You don’t have to be sad because your life is changing; it’s okay to anticipate to what lies ahead.