This is just the end of the beginning

Published 3:03 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

By Staff
This is the time of the year many have been eagerly awaiting. Years of hard work and study have finally reached the point where the students can don flat hats with tassels and march in line to receive their diplomas.
While you are immerged in final exams, term papers and worries about your name being on the final passing list, you think your graduation day will never come.
I have a hope for the many, and there are many, high school graduates in this area, as I personally placed over 600 photos in our special graduation section.
My hope is that these young men and women with their smiling faces don't look at this day as an end, but as a beginning of a lifetime of learning.
Too often, the end of high school, or college for others, is seen as the end of picking up a book, or even a newspaper.
In order to be intelligent adults and contributing members of our society, we need to continue learning about what is happening in our world.
We are lucky to have an excellent junior college at our doorstep, with a campus in Dowagiac and Niles, close to our communities.
Many courses are offered to learn more about our chosen fields, but others offered also improve the quality of our lives.
I know when I was at a turning point in my own life I took a couple of classes at Southwestern Michigan College in psychology.
I had four children, the youngest was in school full-time, and I was trying to decide whether to go and receive a masters, as I had gotten my bachelor degree the same month I became pregnant with my first child.
After taking the classes I realized I would rather join the work force than impart on the path of returning to school with term papers and all the rest.
I had since taken classes in stained glass and costume design, which was my other occupation for many years.
Not only have I learned a lot, I enjoyed the interaction with the younger people who were in class with me.
The senior centers, which I am now ready to join, are also a wonderful place to learn new crafts or join in discussions.
The cost of participating, either at the college or the senior centers, is relatively small compared to the benefits.
Learning throughout your life can keep your mind young.
So my advice to these fresh young graduates is to continue to seek knowledge, whether in a formal academic setting, such as a college or university, or just keep picking up a new book or two.
Read your local newspaper and listen to the news. You and your children will be better for your efforts.
Congratulations to all of you who are graduating. You have done a great job.
I am sure you believe you deserve some time off from studying, and you do.
Just remember to not take off the rest of your life.