Sunday Stills: The #Future Is Ours

College graduates walk at commencement

The future, the Sunday Stills theme this week, asks us to think about what this means to us. Nothing says “future” like a commencement ceremony.

Jubilant student graduates from University

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the college graduation of one of my students (who was also a long-time employee of mine and one of my daughter’s best friends). I also witnessed several students from previous classes walking toward their futures!

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X

The smile on her face (the one in the middle in the white glasses) says it all. Her future is exciting because she moves out of state to be with her husband who serves in the Air Force.

Students graduating from Sacramento State UniversityThe College of Health and Human Services at Sacramento State University, where I teach, had over 1200 bachelor and master candidates for graduation for Spring 2018 out of a university total of 6,600! Impressive when you consider this includes majors in recreation and parks, criminal justice, physical therapy, kinesiology, nursing, and social work.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. William Shakespeare

These women and men are our future!

College graduates walk at commencement

Today’s theme was chosen by Hugh.

Remember, you can always refer to my Sunday Stills page for the monthly themes always posted in advance. Your posts can be published any day of the week! The link-up is optional, but if you do link-up, please visit a couple of bloggers.

What does “future” mean to you?

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Weekend Coffee Share: The Phoenix Shall Fly

What-If-You-Fly

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask, ‘What if I fall?’
Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” 

–Erin Hanson

If you are like me, you may have spent part of your weekend at a graduation ceremony. If we were having coffee I would have handed you a to-go cup and tell you all about it while driving to the weekend festivities.

What-If-You-Fly
My youngest daughter, LAM (initials), graduated from her university early Saturday morning. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Therapy. She will start her fall internship at an Oregon hospital as a recreation therapist working with patients who have psychological problems. Read more about this profession here.

What I have just described is the end (and beginning) of a long, circuitous route for LAM. Her first job in high school was as a lifeguard working indirectly for me (poor thing). Even with several years in aquatics working with children, teens, and adults, she wanted to pursue a college degree in physical therapy or nutrition science. Both noble professions.

She was lucky to play collegiate volleyball for two years, earning her AA degree at a community college. But that is where the road took the turn. Once she started at a four-year university her focus changed. Sadly she did not continue, but left school and moved to San Diego.

If we were having coffee, this is where I would tell you how frustrating it was as her mom to feel so helpless. We want to help our kids and smooth the way for them, but this was not going to happen.

Although LAM was surrounded by other family members in San Diego, she became depressed and out of sorts. 15 months later she came back home. Within one month of being home, she and her car were involved in a rear-end collision. Adding to the stress was a mild injury and me having to find her another vehicle. (I sold her mine, and bought me a new one).

Moving back home was the balm LAM needed to get back on her feet. But, watching her best friends graduating, buying homes and getting jobs, was not helping her self-esteem or depression. She needed a fresh start.

Like other times before when I gave her some advice (although she was stubborn about taking it), we discussed the Recreation and Parks major (where I got my two degrees), with the concentration in Recreation Therapy. She already had some exposure to this working as a lifeguard, where she helped people of all ages with disabilities in the aquatics setting.

The light-bulb came on.Phoenixed-Mortarboard

Like the proverbial Phoenix, rising up out of the ashes, albeit, one feather at a time, she started down a new and refocused path. This road included going back to community college, taking classes and holding a higher grade point average so she could be reinstated to her university.

Only 12% of students who end up on academic expulsion return to graduate.

If we were having coffee, this is where I would pause to take a deep breath so I don’t cry. The road led her to this moment, when she walked across the stage yesterday, then, ceremoniously, turned her mortarboard tassel to the left. I lost it when she tossed the mortarboard into the air symbolically releasing the Phoenix!

Yes, my darling daughter, you certainly did fly!


Update three years later, LAM (Lauren) has worked successfully as a Recreation Therapist in the California State Department of Psychiatric hospitals and is currently back in San Diego with the Department of Corrections working in a State prison.

She is still flying!

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