A Whole New Season
Season Opening . . . FIRSTs

A Bit of Pomp and a Whole Lot of Circumstance


When it comes to graduations, I've been through a few.  You could say . . . I have a lot of commencement-experience.

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This picture-of-some-pictures (because scanner not feeling cooperative today) . . . shows a couple of early graduations:  Tom's college graduation, undergraduate from Boise State University . . . and mine, undergraduate #2, from University of Texas at Austin.  (Hook 'em!

I don't remember much about either of those ceremonies.  Except that they were long.  (Really long.)

I don't remember any of the speeches we heard that day, either.  (I do, however, remember that at Erin's graduation - four years ago - there was talk about some sort of acorn, or maybe it was a walnut, taking root and growing into a tree.  And I also remember that at Brian's graduation - last year - the speech started strong, but went on and on and on for far too long.  There was one "theme word" that the speaker used over and over and over.  I can't remember it anymore -- I have purged it from my mind.)

This week, Carole asks us what you would say if giving a commencement address.  Me?  Well, first, I'd keep it super brief.  Then, I'd say . . . 

  1. Congratulations on this most wonderful of accomplishments.
  2. As you move out into the world, you can apply the lessons you learned in college nearly everywhere you go:  read the syllabus, pay attention to deadlines, figure out how to prioritize, and show up.
  3. (Drinking games and college songs will also serve you well in the non-academic world.)
  4. "Graduation" is not the end of anything; it is the "commencement" of the next phase of your life.  The next phases won't be as neatly mapped out as your course requirements for graduation were, though, so you'll just have to wing it.
  5. Speaking of wings . . . be sure to spread them!
  6. Try new things.
  7. Make mistakes.
  8. Learn from those mistakes.
  9. Live big!
  10. And don't forget to thank the people who got you this far.

How about YOU?  What would you say if you were giving a commencement address?


As I was looking through old photos of graduations yesterday, I spied this little box that I keep up in my bedroom.  (That's my high school graduation tassle there on top.  I keep it in the little box, along with other little mementoes of earlier times.)

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When I graduated from high school, the local furniture store (Grier Furniture in downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming) gave each girl graduate a mini cedar chest just like mine.  I think that used to be a Thing.  Anyone else get one of these from their local furniture store?


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I had that same little cedar chest, given away by a furniture store. My girlfriends and I took an unauthorized senior skip day and went to get ours together. Wow! Weren't we wild things. I have no memory of what else we did that day, but it was likely just as daring!


The next time I attend a commencement, I hope you're the speaker - what a great list! I grew up in the sticks and there was no furniture store within 80 miles, but my mother did have one of those little cedar chests. I "borrowed" it because I loved it so much, but I think my sister stole it from me at some point. You know how sisters are!


I have the same little cedar chest and so does my mother. A local furniture store gave them to girl graduates in our upstate NY town. I wonder if they still do that?


Wonderful list! And yes, I do have one of those little cedar chests from the local furniture store :-) What a wonderful memory!


I have one of those boxes! It's full of notes and love letters from my first husband. I think your ideas for a commencement speech are right on.


Yes! I got one too. I don't think I have it any longer though. Where did it go?

Lydia S

Trying new things is really important.


Great advice for graduates. The local furniture store stopped giving out the mini cedar chests the year I graduated--my three older sisters received them, though.


Great list and good advice! I can't remember a single graduation speech, either, except that most of them went on way too long. ;)


I indeed have a little cedar chest, but I don't have any idea how I got it!

Love your commencement topics.


You and Carole have it covered! The only thing I might add is to find something to be grateful for every day!


Interesting that you couldn't remember any of the speeches. I can't remember anything that was said at either of my commencement ceremonies either. Maybe that should tell us to Let them Go! Just hand out the diplomas. LOL


I only remember how much my butt hurt after sitting for so long. I have the same cedar chest and I have my mother's, too. Her's is elaborately carved and I use it more than I use my own.


What a well-rounded - and optimistic list! I especially love the part about making, and then learning from, mistakes!

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