Amanda was having her hair fixed the day of Theresa's wedding. She wanted juice and a home-made cinnamon roll and called Ben. Surprisingly, Ben delivers. You just never know what the future holds ...
Soon, the class of 2010 will walk across the stage and take its place in the American workforce.
For some, it will be an easy transition—students who have connections or luck or the right major may have already lined up nice first jobs. Other students have applied for, and been accepted, into graduate school.
For many, however, graduation means the beginning of a time of uncertainty and at least temporary unemployment.
That’s the way it was for me when I graduated with a BA in History and Communication from Marycrest College in 1982. I was engaged to be married, my future wife had a nursing job in central Missouri, and I was unemployed.
Luckily, not for long. Despite a national recession and the presence of the one of the world’s largest journalism factories at the University of Missouri just 20 miles east, I got a job at the “Booneville Daily News” as a sports editor.
That brings me to a point of advice to the class of 2010: Remember Tom Hanks in the 2000 movie “Castaway.” When reflecting on his experience—being stranded on a deserted island with only a volleyball for company and, at one point, being driven to the brink of suicide—he noted that one lesson he learned was that you just have to keep breathing. Because you never know what the next tide will bring.
That can be scant comfort when you’re standing at the edge of the unknown, but I think there is wisdom in that outlook, too.
Audrey and I had planned to take a mini vacation this spring break. The kids had given us a bed and breakfast certificate for our 25th wedding anniversary, and we were thinking of a two-day trip to the St. Louis area—our plan was to go somewhere not far away where spring is just a bit further along and enjoy ourselves.
As fate would have it, it didn’t happen. Our son-in-law is finishing a PhD at Iowa State, and, with a new baby in the family, was struggling to get everything done.
Audrey and I decided it would make more sense for her to offer to take care of our granddaughter during spring break. Frankly, it was something of a relief to us—knowing how far behind I was in grading, having extra days to work without having to make time for a trip was probably a good idea anyway for me, too. And any excuse to visit a baby granddaughter has its own rewards. And, it seemed the week had the desired impact—word from Ames is that the big project is much farther along.
So, son-in-law, don’t feel at all guilty. St. Louis and the bed and breakfast certificate will still be there. Audrey thoroughly enjoyed visiting her granddaughter and I got some extra work time and some R and R in the garden—it all worked out for the best for everyone, not just for you.
April is just around the corner. Lent is in its final days and Easter is nearly here. It seems that virtually all of the peony clumps from the farm survived, and I’m anxiously awaiting them to see what colors they bring.
From Wikimedia commons, posted by Steve Ryan on Flikr. Finch in Feburary 2009, but could have been in March, given the uncertainties of March weather.
April, it is said, is the cruelest month. I am not sure at all what T.S. Eliot meant by that line in context—I am not a great literary interpreter of 20th century poetry. I personally think March is crueler—whatever limped through the winter may expire in that half spring, half winter month—but I don’t think T.S. was writing about birds, small mammals, bulbs or other non-human living things.
But, for students, perhaps April is about the hardest time of year. In May, the coming excitement of graduation and the final push to finish everything as best as you can provides a final burst of energy. But in April, just after mid-term, if you aren’t going to make it, if your academic ship is foundering and full of holes, it’s probably sinking time.
Still, April is also full of new life and new hope. If you are failing at something you’re trying, it just means you haven’t found the right path yet. Failure is never truly failure unless you fail to learn anything from it.
And if you’re graduating from Mount Mercy this year, or from ISU with a PhD, congratulations. If you don’t that that dream job lined up, please remember Tom Hanks.
Keep breathing. You never know what the next tide will bring. Not everything that washes ashore is good or welcome, but at least much of it is unexpected.
May some of that which is unexpected be surprisingly good.