Ah, Commencement. Here it comes again, a celebration of achievement and a time to bask in the accomplishment of hard work and resulting intellectual growth. It is a day brimming with promise. The College of William & Mary knows to expect great things of those who become alumni this day.
The university staff knows that on Commencement Day, it’s all hands on deck. I know, because I have had the privilege of seeing my Flex MBA students participate in the Mason School of Business Diploma Ceremony for the past three years. It’s like watching your children graduate and I am always bursting with pride.
But this year is different. I will be graduating myself, with an M.Ed. in higher education administration from William & Mary’s School of Education. This means I will miss the pomp and ceremony for our Flex MBA students in 2012, but also that I will understand the excitement and sense of triumph of our graduating students first-hand. Earning my graduate degree part-time while working full-time gave me empathy for the dedication and hard work of our students. Late nights in the office, Saturday mornings (and afternoons, and evenings) in the library, careful planning to ensure I took care of my deliverables without missing any important events in the lives of my family members – such is the daily reality for adult students who are working professionals in their other lives. I really do get it, because now I have lived it with them. My sense of solidarity with our Flex MBA students has made me even more dedicated to serving and supporting them in their quest for education.
Commencement is a time of great beginnings. I look forward to many more Commencements, knowing that achieving my master’s degree will help me to serve future students better for the knowledge gained, but perhaps even more importantly, because I have walked the same path with them for a while.
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