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Frankly Phyllis

We're All Graduates!

The victory on the face of a graduate holding up her diploma, throwing his cap in the air, beaming at her parents, or clenching his diploma far outshine dire job market predictions. She's looking ahead with great expectations; he's confident in his skill to take on the world. And why not? The adrenalin rush of graduation plays into our pure potential!

How will it play out? My dad was a university professor, and he assured me that school is mainly to learn how to learn and taste the satisfaction of learning. The whole idea is to continue that process throughout life. I didn't exactly get it then, but I do now. You may have heard this quotation before: "A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that 'individuality' is the key to success."

Joking aside, will those graduates hold onto their individuality, their unique "life print"? What are they graduating into? Will they keep their optimism? It's competitive out there. The search can take unexpected turns, but that's a great way to learn about flexibility. Scott Plowman of St. Louis University's Career Services suggests job seekers create networking cards. Good idea -- a small card with your name and contact information on one side and just enough résumé on the other. Get creative and spiff up your Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter accounts to make a good professional impression. Plowman further encourages internships and volunteering as ways to get out there, get training, and get known.

If any of the graduates in your life are getting overwhelmed or nervous as they leave their academic careers behind them, remind them that in the Bible God comes right out and says, "I know the plans I have for you . . . plans for good and not for evil." It pleases Him when we ask for clarity on those plans. He adds, inviting us to trust Him, "You have not because you ask not." There are plenty of verses on trust, too. Meanwhile, He teaches us through the ups and downs, the ins and outs as He graduates us from one circumstance to another. I love that God somehow uses everything in my life to lead to something else. I don't have to understand how this happens, but I trust it and see it at work. For a great example, see my blog entry "I Went to Jail..." for an example of how God beautifully transforms our plans into His.

So here's to the graduates! I pray for great connections with their God-given gifts, their fulfillment in serving Him with those gifts, and their contribution to a world in need of exactly what they have to offer! And for the rest of us? We've graduated, too -- even if it wasn't very recently. If we remember that school is really about learning to learn and enjoying the learning, we're always -- as my dad suggested -- in school. Have fun opening a book, taking a language or art class, or doing a project that takes you out of your comfort zone. No matter what you've graduated into at this point in your life, just remember that God is invested in your pure potential. After all He created it in the first place!

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