As the traditional ” Pomp and Circumstance” march began, tears of a proud aunt welled up in my eyes, as I watched the blue clad class of 2011 march to their seats on the commencement field. I couldn’t be more proud of my niece. There Rebecca was, now a young adult, graduating with honors as she now belonged to a cum laude association. I can still remember going to Cedar Sinai Medical Center years ago, when I saw her for the first time, resting in her mother’s arms. It never ceases to amaze me how fast children grow, particularly when you haven’t seen them for a period of time. How smart she is, and how fortunate she was to not have gone through the horrendous experiences that I had gone through in high school, which almost resulted in my repeating my senior year. Graduating from high school is a major accomplishment for anyone, even if one didn’t have times when their graduation was in doubt like I did. As I continued to watch the class of 2011 take their seats, I looked immediately for Rebecca who, as it turned out, sat in the front row. Although I had some difficulty, I finally found her. It was too bad that my phone had such little charge, because I desperately wanted to take photos of that special moment, but my brother-in-law was able to get pictures, one of which I saw on facebook. Hopefully, we will be able to see more in the future.
In many ways, this commencement was the most inspiring of all of the different commencement ceremonies I have ever been to. The speaker, an English instructor at the school, was a fine orator, and she shared in her speech the importance of keeping a balanced life. She encouraged the students to follow their passions, but to not neglect other important aspects to their lives, such as love for others in the community, and for spending time with family and friends as well. I could truly relate to what she was saying, and I began to think about the ways in which I have followed my own passions, while trying not to neglect important people in my life. This has not always been an easy task for me to accomplish, because time management has not always been my strong suit, and my best friend and my family live far away from me. Not only that but, during my school terms, I become busy with classes and homework. Nevertheless, I try hard to make time for my friends and family when I can, because I know that life is short ,and that all of my loved ones have given me support in various ways throughout the years, and I want to give back what they have given to me. Hearing this speech about the importance of a balanced life inspires me to try all the more harder.
Another inspiring message during the ceremony was that one should use their talents to make a difference in others’ lives. I want to try to do just that by hosting a radio show at my college this fall called ” There Is Hope”, which is a program dedicated to addiction recovery. During this program, I will discuss various ways of coping with one’s addictions. I hope that somehow this program will reach others and will give hope to the addicted in the community, and that it will inspire them to seek help and improve their lives.
Finally, and most importantly, I am inspired to achieve excellence in my own academic performance simply from observing Rebecca’s example (who is following in my sister’s footsteps!). Rebecca sought excellence in her academic performance, as is proven by the fact that she belongs to a cum laude organization. She not only is an exceptional student and athlete, but she is a kind and caring person who gives to the needy. Am I a proud aunt? YES, you bet I AM!
From this experience, I have decided that graduation ceremonies not only inspire the graduating class, but they also inspire their families, friends, and younger colleagues. I have found that coming to Rebecca’s commencement was not only a joyful experience, because I was excited and proud to see my niece graduate, but it was an inspiration to a better and balanced life; to seek excellence along one’s path while loving and helping others as well.