The Moment that Stole the Show

I didn’t do college. No specific reason, I just didn’t have the grades, the money, or the desire (oh hey, look, I found three reasons). 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against college. I mean, I spent a ton of time on college campuses in my younger days. College life is freaking amazing… it’s just the tuition and classes that I wanted no part of. 🙂

So being on the outside looking in, I always railed against the need for a diploma… “it’s just a piece of paper” was my philosophy. Of course, like it or not, that severely limited me as I was trying to climb the corporate ladder, so I was forced to take a much more perilous path and build my own ladder.

My kids, however, are smarter than that. In fact, I’m happy to admit, they’re smarter than I am (hey, easy with the low bar jokes!). All three of them were blessed with the ability, the desire, and the opportunity to do something I never did, go to college.
Aaron graduated in 2020 with a degree in Construction Management and is kicking so much ass in his career right now that he’s on his fourth pair of boots (kicking… boots… get it?). 🙂

Liz is three years into her public relations / communications / psychology / sports management degree(s). With all that collective knowledge, now whenever she says something, I just nod in approval – she’s going to be dangerous out there in the work world.

And then there’s Josh. This is his year. He employed the brilliant move of a gap year out of high school (my opinion, it’s an amazing strategy to help them understand the real work world, and why they need to take college seriously). Then he jumped into the crazy confines of Computer Science.

Classes like “Randomized Algorithms and Probabilistic Analysis” (huh?) “Data Mining” (is that even legal?) “Machine Learning” (are we making them sentient? sounds incredibly sketchy).

I mean, really? Who in their left mind (get it? vs. right mind?, sigh…) takes this torture on purpose, and actually pays money for it? An easier strategy might have been to major in Underwater Basketweaving and call it good.

But Josh would have none of that. It was all about the BS in CS! So it was a full five-year battle against some of the craziest classes I’ve never heard of. And then, boom. This past weekend was the culmination of all those local school years, the gap year of work, and five full years of college. Graduation Weekend.

To say we are proud of Josh and his accomplishment would be a colossal understatement. Josh has earned every bit of this moment in time. He is going full steam ahead into an industry that will, to a certain degree (pun intended) 🙂 dominate our society. And fortunately for the rest of us, Josh has the foundational knowledge to put all that talent to good use, regardless of the power of the Dark Side.

Note: I’m pretty sure it’s written somewhere that I need to include a minimum number of Star Wars references in any post I do about Josh. Just trying to stay in compliance here. Thank you for your understanding. 🙂

From a totally selfish perspective, my most impactful moment of the weekend came hours after the ceremony itself was over. As a dozen or so family had sat down to eat, Josh stood up with something to say. He explained that the Stole he had worn with his cap and gown in the graduation ceremony was a Gratitude Stole.

Josh then handed me the Stole and proceeded to say that the Stole was meant to recognize his gratitude to someone who had helped him through some of the toughest times during his stay at school. He told me that whenever he had called me, lamenting over the trials and tribulations of his college experience, questioning his direction or his ability to continue, I had always said the right thing to get him back on track, focused on the future and its opportunities, and believing in his abilities to make it happen.

I was overwhelmed. I am again as I type this out. It was an amazing moment, one that I’ll never forget. Congratulations on being a college graduate son. And Thank You.

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