What does it mean to graduate? Is it attaining a certain number of credits or spending all your money on that special outfit that will make heads turn? Or maybe it is finally getting that acceptance letter to that university you applied to. For some students it may be the stress of not knowing what the next step is or even how to attain it.
When I graduated from high school, I went to college but I honestly was not ready for that. I did not have a high school counsellor making sure that I had the right courses in my timetable, to keep my options open - a very popular statement that I believe can be overused. Many years ago you needed all 3 sciences and the highest math to get into most programs but that is not so now. Times have changed, there are so many different pathways to enter into a program now.
I remember having a conversation with a parent one day, and it was stated that if a student took Essentials in Math or Consumer Math, the chances of going to university was impossible. In which I replied, every single student has the opportunity to go to university regardless of which Math they take. It is true, there are some programs that you will not get into with Essentials in Math/Consumer Math, but that is OK, take courses in your first year university that are of interest to you, maybe upgrade your Math, and eventually you will be on the right path.
Fast forward now to today, I never thought that I would one day be a career counsellor at a high school, helping students plan out their high school years so that they have equal opportunity to make some very wise decisions about life after graduation. Sometimes students decide to take a “year off” from academics which may bring about major life-changing experiences that might not be found between book covers. Sometimes those “life experiences” open doors that students may not even know were there.
When I think about graduation, I see it from this perspective: counting credits, calculating student averages, planning Convocation, preparing diplomas, helping students with university applications, writing letters and sending transcripts to post-secondary schools. But here is the other perspective: encouraging students to finish up well, always have a open door policy, so if students just need to stop by and be reassured that everything is going to be OK, someone is there to listen.
Today, it is important that students attain a high school diploma regardless of whether they plan to attend a post-secondary school, get a job, or experience life. It is now a necessity. Marks are not the end all be all. When I was in high school I was just an average kid with average marks - and I still went to college. But as the years went by, and I experienced life, I matured and then I went back to school, and it was then that I was able to apply myself and reach my potential. Each one of us have different levels of achievement - there are many high achievers, but if all we had were high achievers within our society there would be an unhealthy imbalance.
In less than two months, students will be walking across the stage to receive their diploma, and I am so honoured to be a part of these graduation ceremonies. Some will go on to university, some to college, some to Bible college, some to Missions, some may work or travel, and some just do not know and you know what, every single one of these choices is OK.