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Image by Lumaxart. Used under CC license.

Wow. Is it possible? On one side it seems as though the last four years have crawled by; that the time between now and my freshman year is much longer than four years. But on another side, it seems as though it was just yesterday that I lifted my hat at high school graduation. When thinking about graduation, I wonder what will be said at the commencement ceremony.

There will probably be a line somewhere telling us “Do not walk – run. Do not try – succeed. Do not fly – soar,” like the chosen student speaker at Whittier College, Senior Mary “McCall” Schenthal.

There will also probably be talk of us crossing over, starting a new chapter in our lives… bla bla bla. While all that is well and good, and commencement should be an uplifting moment where we believe all our dreams come true, I think it is always interesting to get speakers, like journalist Bill Moyers for Whittier college, who told the graduating class, “I’m not sure anyone from my generation has anything to say to your generation except, `We’re sorry.” Sorry for the collapsed economy, sorry for the national debt, sorry for the environmental toxins. Moyers apologized for his generation for the hardships we graduates now have to face.

On one hand, I’d like to say, “yeah, take all the blame! How dare you!” But really, all of us have had involvement in those issues somehow, one way or another. Just because we haven’t left the school system yet, doesn’t mean we haven’t made choices that will already affect the rest of our lives. I think it’s important to realize that even though we might be entering into a new “chapter” in our lives, the work and the experiences that we’ve had up until now will color the way we enter into the “real world,” and we already have altered some aspect of the adult world.

So, while I think it’s great that Moyers said something that wasn’t the traditional commencement fodder, I think it’s also important to realize that we already do make an impact. Life will be extremely different once we graduate and get full time jobs. It’s going to be hard, and it’s definitely a little scary (job search? ack!). But we can’t blame our predecessors for the issues that we have now; it’s not helpful to blame anyone. But we need to be conscious of the problems, learn from past mishaps and make the best of the future. This doesn’t just start once we graduate, it has already started and it will continue.