Theory 64… The Graduation Theory

Yesterday I graduated from school for the last time. Most everyone who reads this blog knows that over the past 2 years I’ve been working on my MBA through the executive program at BYU. Classes finished up around the first of July… but yesterday it became “official” as I walked across the stage to pick up a fancy piece of paper in a funny cap and gown.

Education is something that’s very important to me… and years ago I set a goal for myself to get a graduate degree. For a while I thought about law school… but thankfully I ended up going to business school (a much better decision considering my skills and strengths). I believe the benefits and advantages of higher education are almost immeasurable… and considering the time, energy, and effort I put into getting my MBA, I would say there is definitely some self satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes from finally graduating.

Though I’m obviously a big advocate for higher education… I’m certainly not a big fan of convocation, commencement… or whatever other fancy name they have for graduation ceremonies. My theory… they’re long, boring, and even a bit depressing.

My best graduation was my preschool graduation… clear back in 1981. I still remember wearing a cardboard cap and reciting the alphabet. What was so great about it? Well… it was personal… only a handful of other kids were attendance… a kid actually feels as if he’s accomplishing something important. Every other graduation ceremony that I have been a part of has been anything but personal… after all… how special do you feel when you’re just one of 500+ people receiving the same exact award?

The worst is High school graduation… quite possibly the most most overblown deal in history… Yet for some reason it’s the biggest and most over hyped graduation ceremony of all… cards are sent out… relatives send you money… I’ve never understood… what’s the big deal… Everyone graduates from high school! It’s certainly more of a rite of passage rather than a meaningful accomplishment.

I thought graduating from college was a meaningful accomplishment… until I walked into the Huntsman Center at the University of Utah in spring of 2002 and realized I was just one of several thousand people graduating that day with a college degree… sort of a depressing moment… you work hard for 4+ years… all to realize you’re really just an average joe college graduate.

Yesterday’s graduation ceremony (I’ve got to admit) wasn’t too bad… I was one of about 100 others receiving a masters degree and I was fortunate to have a seat on the front row. Yeah… a couple of the talks were too long and I was hot and uncomfortable wearing that rental gown and hood ($59.00 rental fee is an absolute rip-off). But it turned out to be a terrific day… I got to say goodbye to some wonderful friends… and best of all… my family was there to cheer me on… they have been such a wonderful support to me over the last two years. So… to my family I say… thanks for everything… and I promise I won’t make you go to any more graduation ceremonies.