Graduation and New Beginnings

US Wealth McCarthy |

Rodgers and Hammerstein made June famous for “bustin’ out all over,” but in my mind, this month is linked to Graduation Season and visions of the graduate heading off to conquer the world.  I think the phrase “develop a killer app” is the 2019 equivalent of “Plastics, my boy, plastics.”  For the graduate, the prize is at hand and the fruits of all their hard work will be realized…or so they think.  For most college graduates, the ceremony is called “Commencement” for a reason.

It is the commencement of their transition from the security of the academic world to the world of work—a world that is far more demanding and much less forgiving than what they’ve experienced or imagined.  My initial experiences with a large Public Accounting firm (back when they were the “Big 8”) was not at all what I had imagined.  Mundane, boring tasks so far below my imagined skill set that workdays were a drudge.  I was ready to give my “seasoned” advice on the weighty financial and accounting issues that our clients faced!  No such luck!  There was a very thorough and comprehensive training process I had to complete before I was allowed near any clients.  My education had given me a firm understanding of the theory of what I was being asked to do, but I had no idea how to implement that knowledge.  Training and experience were essential to complement my education.

College graduation also is the commencement of the transition from family to the greater world…of finally leaving home (and not coming back to live in the basement).  For some, this will be a more difficult adjustment than the professional world.  Time to finally grow up.  Earn and pay your way.  Living in an apartment with two or three roommates will be the norm, and there is a no “RA” on site to help with problems.  Things cost a lot more when you are spending your own money!  You can’t cut work like classes…not if you want to keep your job and your space in the apartment.

These early years may be difficult financially, but they will provide some of the best memories and life lessons.  Dealing with several roommates will pale in comparison to navigating living with a spouse, but it is still a good training ground to develop the maturity needed to become an adult capable of functioning in our modern world (there’s a reason #adulting is a popular and often humorous hashtag on Twitter).

Congratulations to all graduates and their families, and best wishes for your future endeavors.