Originally Published: May 21, 2018 6:04 a.m.
For 3.6 million high school students, the end is near. Oops, I guess it is the beginning.
Life starts now!
That’s right, school days are winding down, caps and gowns are being worn with dignity (and relief) as millions of students leave high school for the world at large. This year more than three million students will graduate from colleges and universities in our country, so it is likely you will be getting an invitation to a graduation party.
Congratulations are in order. You finally made it. Yes, now the “Rest of Your Life” begins, the “Great Adventure” has started, and we (the parents, family and teachers) are waiting for you to make your mark on the world. Just as your tassels were swinging in the breeze to the processional of “Pomp and Circumstance,” the adults in your life were sighing in relief. Finally, you can start earning your keep! Well, maybe not. It seems it is getting harder for kids to “leave the nest,” and they linger a bit longer at home than past generations. If they are finished with college, the reality of a student loan is enough to put a dent in a new Grad’s plans to “take on the world.” Hard to do that and pay off $30,000 in student loans. This is now the national average cost for a student graduating with a Bachelor's degree.
Hey, kids (sorry, I mean graduates), it’s been one expensive ride for your parents. According to some big study that was published in Newsweek, the average American child costs over two hundred thousand to raise, not to mention college.
College costs push the envelope to the upper stratosphere, breaking the wallets of many a parent and draining retirement funds.
Can you blame parents for crying when they watch you walk on stage to receive your diploma? Those tears are tears of joy! The poverty has ended!
Graduation marks an ending of one huge chapter. It is the single, biggest milestone to the “next phase.” Adulthood is looming in the not-so-distant future. Children may move away, get married, have babies, join the military…leave the nest. Yikes!
The patter of little (or big) feet is silenced, and no matter how difficult, time-consuming, expensive and exhausting it was, guiding the kids through those school years might be one of the greatest achievements of all time. Parents and teachers, we applaud you!
On a practical note, it might be a little premature to start painting your graduate’s bedroom and transforming it into your office. You might want to wait a while (like five years).
If you are teary-eyed because your graduate is leaving home, take heart; the kid will probably be back. If you are crying because your graduate shows no interest in leaving home (ever), remain hopeful. This too, shall pass. The nest will get empty, and the grads will make their “mark” on the world.
Going to a graduation ceremony? Savor the moment! It should be celebrated with gusto! So to all you grads, parents and teachers: Bravo!
Judy Bluhm is a writer and local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.