It may be hard to believe, but commencement season is officially underway. All over the country, graduates are getting ready to don their caps and gowns, celebrate their achievements, and embark on their next adventures. If you have a graduate to celebrate this year, you might be reflecting on your own graduation experiences and wondering how to relay your generous amounts of knowledge to your own little grad. For high school graduation quotes in particular, there's a lot to share with a senior.
High school graduation is one of the first big moments of a young adult's life. It's one of your foremost academic and social accomplishments, and though years down the road you may not find it as significant, it's certainly worth celebrating. High school graduation also often marks the start of adulthood and that, itself, marks the start of many new things for many people — moving out of your parents' house, living on your own, managing daily responsibilities, and budgets on your own. It can be awfully overwhelming on young minds.
Graduating high school is a great thing, and though it sometimes feels as though you've come so far, you've still got a long way to go. But that can be so exciting, and as these quotes take into account, there are plenty of sentiments behind high school graduation that are important.
"The aim of education is the knowledge — not of facts, but of values." — William S. Burroughs
As we go through school, at some point we realize that the facts don't matter as much as what we learn about social values and human decency. It's hard to understand this at 18 years old, particuarly when most of your life has been wrapped up in grades and academic achievement. But, the sooner we start telling our young people this, the better it is.
"We don't stop going to school when we graduate." — Carol Burnett
Graduation often seems like the end of a road, but really, it's just the start of a new road to a new place. Graduation marks the beginning of a brand new way of life.
"All real education is the architecture of the soul." — William Bennett
High school definitely feels like a place where you're inundated with facts and knowledge, but it's also the place where our souls are first shaped in many ways. Getting to know who you are is a lifelong journey, but many first steps are taken in high school.
"Graduations need not only be obsessed with looking ahead; a graduation can be a day on which we turn back and trace our steps to see how we ended up where we are." — Taylor Mali
Reflecting back on the day of graduation is normal, and even suggested. It's important to take into account the many changes that you've gone through as a person and in what ways you want to continue to change moving forward.
"You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world." — Tom Brokaw
Graduates always need to know that they have power within themselves to create change. Being young is often associated with being powerless, but as we've seen recently, young people have the determination and persistence to create vital change.
"You're going out of that nest. And you have to find that courage that's deep, deep, deep in there. Every step of the way." — Andrew Shue
Moving forward in life, past any sort of great life change, takes courage. To continue through the ups and downs of daily life takes will. We sometimes have to dig very deep to pull it out of us, but it's always there.
"A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that 'individuality' is the key to success." — Robert Orben
A little humor never hurts, and in this case, it's true. Individuality and creativity are harped on as markers of true success, but often, adult life doesn't make space for them. It's on us to maintain true to our own roots and identities, even when that means going against the tide.
"Adults tell students that it gets better, that the world changes after school, that being 'different' will pay off sometime after graduation. But no one explains to them why." — Alexandra Robbins
The time after graduation can sometime be very confusing and emotionally conflicting. This is all normal, though we don't often realize that because no one talks about it. As adults, it's important to be clear and upfront about the emotions involved in life changes, so the young people in our lives can feel secure in their own feelings.
"After graduating, I knew I wanted my life to count." — Donna Rice
Graduates are often filled with immense hope and great determination — this is a wonderful thing that should not wane as time moves on.
"Graduation speeches force you to reflect. They are about consciousness. Nothing is better than consciousness." — Bruce Eric Kaplan
Reflection is one of the most important parts of life and a habit that everyone should practice. Reflection brings growth and awareness, both of which are integral to great sense of self.
"It's what you learn, what you think. That's all that counts." — Maya Lin
Graduation should never be the end of learning — learning is lifelong and continuous, and many times, we learn our biggest lessons well after graduation.
"I missed out on a few proms, homecomings, might miss my graduation. I wouldn't want it any other way... it's worth it." — Chloe Kim
In the same regard, moments like graduation are just single moments in a life that consists of many, many moments. Sometimes, taking in the larger picture gives us a better feeling for just how big life is.
"Remember, half the doctors in this country graduated in the bottom half of their class." — Al McGuire
A lot of us didn't do so great in high school, and while that may have stung back then, in the long run, it didn't make a big difference. There's always a time and place to get up and try again and turn your life towards a path you'd like to travel.
"When I graduated from Santa Monica High in 1927, I was voted the girl most likely to succeed. I didn't realize it would take so long." — Gloria Stuart
Success certainly doesn't come quick, but that's hard to know when you're young and wanting your own. Patience and persistence are both skills that will bring you far.
"When my mother took her turn to sit in a gown at her graduation, she thought she only had two career options: nursing and teaching. She raised me and my sister to believe that we could do anything, and we believed her." — Sheryl Sandberg
Here's what all graduates need to know — you can do anything. Believe that and go with it.