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The Mixed Emotions of College Graduation- for Both Parents and Children

This weekend was a mixed bag of emotions for me- as my youngest daughter graduated with an BA in Experimental Animation  from Laguna College of Art and Design.

First of all let me say that the last four years has FLOWN  by.  I’m in a little in shock that we are already HERE!!  I found myself riding on a rollercoaster of emotions as I thought about my own college graduation 27 years ago, that of my oldest daughter,  5 years ago and now THIS….  It feels so final.  I do feel grateful that all 3 of my children have careers of their own now.  Wings clipped, and these kids are soaring into the next chapters of their lives.

All of this got me thinking about the flurry of emotions she must be experiencing at this time.  This transition- filled with a blend of excitement, apprehension, and nostalgia as she says goodbye to the familiarity of campus life and embarks on a new journey into the vast expanse of the  professional world.

For many, college represents a bubble of safety and predictability. It's a time of exploration, experimentation, learning, falling down and getting back up.  It is a time of extreme personal recognition and growth.

As graduation approached, I know the reality of stepping into the "real world" was starting to sink in.

She felt excited at the  opportunities that awaited: the chance to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during her  academic journey, the prospect of financial independence (wait- WHAT- this part is also terrifying) and the freedom to carve out her specific path. Yet, intertwined with this excitement is a sense of apprehension—a fear of the unknown, of navigating uncharted territories without the safety net of friends, teachers, mentors and department chairs.  There is fear that lies in not knowing what is on the other side.

Seeing her walk across the stage Magna Cum Laude (I knew she was doing well in her classes- but this was a nice surprise), my heart swelled with pride.  Knowing that she has secured a job with a great company out of the gate- makes it a little easier to loosen the reigns.  But, I find myself questioning- did I do enough to prepare her for real life?  Did I teach her how to survive outside of the comfort of our home or the small confines of campus life?   Well, we shall see.  There is a lot of praying that God is watching over her in this new phase.  That she is mindful and cautious as she moves forward.  That she lives within her means and doesn’t let the interest rate of that first credit card to be victorious.  🙈🙈🙈

Being a parent is so hard.  Our job is to keep them safe and prepare them for what  opportunities life brings their way- for the “real world”.  But, as parents, we will always question whether we have done an adequate job.  Will they sink or swim?  Maybe a little bit of both, am I right?

Keep me in your thoughts- I’m going through it over here- wondering, hoping…. Praying.

With love from my core,

Amity ❤️

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