Last week I “graduated” with my Masters Degree. I put that in quotations, because I didn’t really graduate.
Yet, the graduation ceremony was awesome. Everything about the USC graduation experience was more than I expected and I am thrilled I made the trip out west to be there in person. But I still have two weeks of classes left…two weeks of teaching in a high school history class, two weeks of papers to write, two weeks to reflect upon all I have learned.

Over graduation weekend, my husband repeatedly asked, “Can you believe you have your Masters degree?!” Yet, I didn’t feel that way, of course, because I am not done with my coursework. However I started to think about what it actually means: to graduate. It’s not about the diploma. It’s not about a few extra letters at the end of my name. It’s not even about graduation. It’s about the process, the journey and all the work I have done throughout the program. No one piece of paper in a fancy frame (thank Mom & Dad!) means anything without the knowledge gained.

This realization made me smile for a few reasons. One, you would think I would know this! I talk all the time about the journey – my journey. It’s not about the destination. It’s about the process. Secondly, I realized this is the second time I have ”graduated” without really being done. I walked with my class of 1995 at Notre Dame, but still had a semester of coursework to complete. So while the ceremony is symbolic and an event to remember, it does not create or define the journey and the learning. I think this is important to remember: to celebrate our accomplishments, but to honor the process and knowledge of lessons gained and learned.

Congratulations to all graduates!