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Beyond the Graduation Hurdle: The Real Question for Seniors



Ah, senior year—a whirlwind of emotions, the “last” of everything, and the perplexing question that haunts every graduation cap: “What are you going to do next?” But wait, let’s hit the pause button on the post-graduation panic because we’re about to dive into a question that’s not just fun but also profoundly significant: “Who are you going to be?”

The Usual Suspect: “What are you going to do?”

We’ve all been there—family gatherings, college events, or even casual conversations where the well-intentioned inquiry about the future hits them like a brick wall. “What are you going to do after graduation?” they ask as if the entire worth of your existence boils down to a neatly packaged career plan. Luckily for my high school senior daughter, she is laser-focused and relishes that question. My college sophomore son still doesn’t quite know his future path and that question causes much anxiety.

The Uncharted Territory: “Who are you going to be?”

But hold up! Let’s redirect the spotlight to a more exciting and meaningful question. Instead of fixating on the career path, why not explore the uncharted territory of personal growth? “Who are you going to be?” is the question that unravels the tapestry of character, values, and the kind of person you’re destined to become.

Beyond the Résumé: Building a Foundation of Character

Sure, landing that dream job is fantastic, but what about building a solid foundation of character? Whether you’re heading to college, taking a gap year, or diving straight into the workforce, consider the qualities that define you. Are you compassionate, resilient, or adventurous? These are the building blocks of a fulfilling life.

The Journey of Self-Discovery: Embrace the Unknown

Life is a journey, not a checklist. Instead of mapping out every step, embrace the unknown and relish the process of self-discovery. This is the time to try new things, learn from experiences, and cultivate the traits that make you uniquely YOU.

Be the Captain of Your Ship: Steering Your Destiny

While career goals are important, remember that you are the captain of your ship. Navigate through life with purpose and authenticity. The more you focus on developing a strong sense of self, the better equipped you’ll be to handle the twists and turns that come your way.

As we celebrate the graduating seniors, let’s shift the narrative from the predictable “What are you going to do?” to the empowering “Who are you going to be?” In the grand scheme of life, the latter question holds the key to a fulfilling and purpose-driven journey. So, seniors wear that cap and gown proudly and embark on the adventure of self-discovery. The best is yet to come, and the person you’re becoming is far more exciting than any job title on a résumé.

Cheers to the graduating class of 2024—may you embrace the joy of becoming!






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