Annette and I went to the Graduation Ceremony at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania last Saturday (May 7, 2011). We were there to witness the graduation of Kristi Kushnir, a very special girl to us. You can see here getting her official graduation picture taken in the center foreground. Woohoo! Hip hip hooray! Woot woot! Congratulations, Kristi!!!
Kristi completed her Bachelor degree in four years! From the statistics that I have read, this is becoming less and less the norm. Congratulations, Kristi!
Like the rest of the graduates, Kristi is working hard and striving to find her place in the world and this picture symbolizes that.
How does this symobolize that?
First, a person’s place in the world is in ever larger and larger contexts.
- The student is part of the class of 2011. We can see in the image that each graduate is an individual, but together they make up that sea of blue in the image that is the Class of 2011.
- The Class of 2011 is part of the University. We can see in the image that the Class of 2011 is on the football field in front of school buildings.
- The University is part of the educational system.
- The educational system is part of the US economy.
- The US economy is a part of the world.
Second, everything and everybody is inter-related.
- If you talk to the students, you will find that almost every class has at least one assignment that is to be completed with a team. So, the students are inter-related.
- It’s a little bit difficult to see, but that sea of blue in the image above is divided into sections. Each section was for a different department within the university. If I had to guess, I would guess that no degree can be completed totally within the department that controls the degree. For example, Business majors have to take classes within the Humanities department. Therefore, the departments within the university are inter-related.
- The university has relationships with the government, acreditation boards, and business.
My point here is this: Each student is part of larger systems and is inter-related with other students and the larger systems.
You could say that makes each student and their work insignificant because they are such a small part of the entire system. I say, NO, NO, NO!
Look at it as a force multiplier. Each student can use those systems, of which they are a part, to multiply the impact of their efforts. Each student can use the relationships to multiple the significance of what they do.
So to the Class of 2011 ( and earlier classes, too), I say, “Go forth and multiply!” Use the relationships and systems to change the world for the better, in a big way!