Reflections of a College Graduate … 14 Years Later

I remember the day as if it were yesterday; when in fact, it was 14 years ago this weekend.

It was a sunny, May day when I walked across the stage of the San Diego State University Open Air Theatre to receive my college diploma. The day was surreal. I was proud, excited, and overwhelmed, all at the same time. The only thing I remember from the four-hour commencement ceremony is hearing my name called (which the announcer mispronounced), walking across stage, and hugging my roommate after we both received our diplomas.

Afterwards, I took photos with my family – my dad, mom, three sisters, and my grandfather (who is no longer here today). Sadly, my grandmother passed away seven months prior. She would have enjoyed that sunny day. I remember the letter my sister, Sari – who was 14-years-old at the time – wrote me. I still have that letter and it still brings tears to my eyes as I read it.

College was a magical time for me. And while I felt that a huge part of my life was over, and new part was commencing. I started my first full-time professional job that following Tuesday and I haven’t looked back since.

Now – 14 years later – it is commencement weekend here on the San Diego State University campus. I love this time of the year. I love seeing the happy graduates walking around campus in their caps and gowns, brimming from ear to ear. I love seeing the proud parents beside their graduates with flowers and balloons in hand. I love hearing Pomp and Circumstance and knowing the students receiving their diploma are hearing it for the first time in their lives. I love remembering the feelings of excitement and opportunity, as if my whole life was a blank canvas in front of me.

Commencement Day 1997 (me with my dad and sisters)

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