It is the time of year I start receiving graduation announcements. Family members and young people who I watched grow up are finishing the last days of high school and graduating. Graduation is a time of celebration, their childhood work of education is completed and they are stepping into adulthood.
In the United States, a child begins the education journey with their first step into a kindergarten classroom. For thirteen years they will attend public education provided by the country. This is only the beginning to a lifetime journey of learning.
I hear seniors say they will be so glad to be out of school, they are tired of learning, lessons, tests and homework. Truth is schooling is the easy lessons to learn. The lessons from life are pass or fail. There is a cost when you fail the lesson in life.
Learning continues in after high school graduation with the choices. One pathway is to continue with structured classes in a college or university to obtain an occupational degree. Others choose to become certified in an occupation such as beautician, electrician and many others. Some choose to enter into military service for the country. Last, there are those who just want to get a job, and figure out what they want to do. Regardless of the choice to continue with more structured learning, all will start their lessons of life.
Lessons taught on financial responsibility. Some young people are surprised by the expense of having a cellphone. A common item used daily, that is paid for by their parents, now becomes their responsibility to keep the bill paid.
Time management is another life lesson. Balancing time spent with college or work and with family and friends. Balancing having fun with what is required to pay their new found bills, and not falling asleep.
After high school, people seperate to start their new adventure in life. Some leaving their hometown for the first time. Learning people from different places do not think the same as they do on a vast array of subjects. There is work involved in keep friendships alive when they are not seeing each other daily, often having a visit months apart. Making new friends and keeping old friends, and developing romantic relationships without supervisor or wise words from parents.
The lessons young people learn after graduation are lessons they will continue to learn as adults for a lifetime. We meet new people, we learn new jobs, our old friends move away or we move away from them. Our lives and the lives around us are always changing, and the lessons are learned and refined as we gain in age.
Do we ever arrive at knowing how to work around those we may not agree with? Do our friendships never change? I do not think we are ever “done” with learning.
We change yearly, hopefully getting better at our life lessons. Looking forward to the next adventure, the new friend and making wiser choices.