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Two years of post-graduate hard work and sacrifice for the future.

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Knowing that the path you’ve chosen at this point in your life is the right one for you and your family.

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Knowing that you’re lucky to have a job waiting for you. And knowing that luck was just a small part of it.

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How long will it be until even people who have never read Harry Potter no longer reference Hogwarts upon seeing graduation regalia?

Graduations are boring and long. A bunch of people crowded into a too-small space sitting in uncomfortable chairs, listening to boring speeches and waiting through hundreds of names just for the 34 seconds it takes your daughter or grandson or wife or friend to walk across the stage.

So what? Graduations are full of hope and promise. An opportunity to publicly acknowledge the hard work so many people have put into making themselves better people. A chance to soak up the love and support of the graduates’ families – strangers – yet all of us together part of something bigger. If you let them, even the platitudes will rekindle your hope for the future, the future represented by all those people in silly gowns and funny-looking hats.

But if you can’t get over yourself for just a couple of hours out of your life, you can display your self-importance and uninspired choice of amusement by ignoring the pomp, staying seated despite everyone around you standing to show their respect for the graduates and their accomplishments, and do this for two hours instead:

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Or, a few seats down, you can fix your indulgent gaze on your young daughter as she reads, aloud, from Let’s Go Read 1. For 15 minutes. To hell with everyone else and the reason they’ve spent money on airfare and hotels and gotten up before dawn to attend this celebration.  It is, after all, a graduation for the college of education.

When people like me are done reveling in our moral superiority for not being people like that, we come back to this and the thousands like her today:2014.06.14c

And hope is restored.