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Graduate every day

| Friday, May 16, 2014

I feel like I’ve been here before. But at the same time, I really don’t. I’ve worn a cap and gown before, but never like this. With this shake of the hand and a smile, my days as a graduate will end.

Just like that, 16 years of school will end. But the greatest thing I’ve learned during this time is that my education is not limited to school. I will continue to learn every day, every hour and every minute.

I will get the chance to learn new things about myself in ways that I have never experienced before. Every day will bring new experiences and different reactions, and I will use that to grow and make the next day better.

I will get the chance to learn new things about the world around me in ways that I have never experienced before. Until I walk off the edge of the map, there will always be something new to discover, a new place to see and a path to walk.

Graduation is every day. There will always be a new hand to shake, a new opportunity to smile and, most importantly, a new moment to learn. If I do one of these, usually the others will follow.

A C+ grade doesn’t say that I didn’t learn, maybe just that I didn’t smile enough. An A- grade doesn’t say that I didn’t smile enough, maybe just that I didn’t challenge myself to learn enough. And deleting my Facebook (which also happened to be one of the better college decisions for procrastination purposes) doesn’t say that I didn’t make enough new friends, just that I met the right ones who made me smile.

Graduation doesn’t make me more happy than sad, or throw bittersweet feelings my way. If anything, it only makes me want to move on. Graduation is about progress, about growth. And that’s exactly what I plan to do every day for the rest of my life. I will move on with these great memories and my education, and graduate every day.

And more than anything, I will go to bed every night asking myself what I learned today, how I grew and look forward to the next opportunity to do so. Personally, I feel like I have become the person I will be for the rest of my life, but that doesn’t mean I cannot grow.

I am ready to move on. I am ready to grow. I am ready to learn.

Why let that stop at graduation?

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Andrew Gastelum

Editor-in-Chief of The Observer, Notre Dame class of 2014, pizza enthusiast

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