Congratulations, graduates!

Families, friends share in proud moment

By Walt Braun

This is one of the most joyous weekends of the entire year. It’s graduation time at Kansas State University, and not reports indicating that graduates will enter a difficult job market can spoil the occasion.

This is not a weekend to worry. It’s a time for graduates and their families to celebrate accomplishments. For some graduates, those include acing every class and constructive involvement in extracurricular activities. For others — those who struggled to keep up, changed majors three times or juggled 15-hour academic schedules with two part-time jobs — simply getting to this point is reward enough.

Hopefully, most of those to be honored this weekend have come to realize that there’s more to college than book-learning, even if that might have been what attracted them to K-State. No less important has been the growing up that occurred, something that doesn’t receive a formal grade but contributes to GPAs and is amply evident to parents.

The process of moving from freshman to graduation involves meeting thousands of deadlines — some via all-nighters. It also involves mastering concepts and material that once seemed positively foreign, doing laundry, managing money, making sacrifices, making mistakes — some more painful than others — forming friendships, falling in and out of love and, one hopes, learning to respect other people’s points of view.

Students also learn a little — or a lot — about trust, consequences, tolerance, spiritual matters, the value of hard work, friendship and the difference between true satisfaction and instant gratification. In short, they learn about themselves. Indeed, those lessons can last long after the cap and gown come off.

Ceremonies for the Graduate School and College of Veterinary Medicine will be Friday, About 80 students will receive doctorates, 750 students will receive master’s degrees and 100 will receive doctor of veterinary medicine degrees.

Undergraduate ceremonies will take place Saturday, beginning with the College of Liberal Arts at 8:30 a.m. and ending with the College of Engineering at 6:15 p.m. KSU officials will hand out almost 2,500 bachelor’s degrees on Saturday.

Some of this weekend’s graduates will return to school; most will enter the job market, either embarking on careers or making their way in an economy that isn’t as welcoming to college graduates these days as it could be.

We don’t know what’s in store for the individuals who will receive degrees from K-State this weekend. But we’re confident that if they combine their own gifts with the countless lessons they’ve learned at K-State, they’ll succeed.

We congratulate each of them, and we wish them good health and good luck.

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