I can remember kindergarten graduation like it was last week. I had on my white dress, frilly socks with my shiny, white shoes (I never understood this style) – big white bow in my curled hair, and lipstick. I remember being incredibly embarrassed when I walked across the stage to get my diploma; simply because when they announced my name and my aspirations of being an ice skater when I grew up: the crowd burst into laughter. My graduating kindergarten class of 1996 was full of future firefighters, doctors, teachers, policemen, and then there was me – the future ice skater. Needless to say, where I am from we do not have ice rinks; we barely even get snow every other year. This experience at an early age, to realize that I was different and had an imagination, paved the way for how I would now approach my life. I branded myself creative. From this point on, I decided that I was going to be me – no matter how many people laughed at me.
Fast-forward 15 years and here I am graduating college.
It honestly feels like just yesterday I was moving into Cornerstone Hall on UNCW’s campus, a ‘fresh’ new student straight out of high school. When people say “time flies when you’re having fun,” they are referring to college. I cannot grasp the fact that in 10 days I will be a college graduate; time has definitely flown by. Before this semester began, I thought I had it all figured out, and that I was “ready” to graduate. However, I had it all wrong! My current feelings are similar to Peter Pan’s in that all I want to do is scream “I will not grow up! You cannot make me!” But, I realize that I am not Peter Pan and I do not live in Neverland; I am a Communication Studies student who is about to step foot into the real world. It may be scary, and I might not like it at first, but its life. I shouldn’t worry though – I am prepared for it. I have taken so many different classes at UNCW, have experienced so many different things, and have learned from all of them. I have dealt with my share of “crazy” roommates, the difficult realization that UNCW will never have a football team, and also a climate that is all but predictable. As I am about to graduate, I can honestly say that I am a better person after my time spent as a Seahawk. Although I am not 100% sure what I want to do with the rest of my life, I know that UNCW has prepared me for anything.
An excerpt from Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, is the list of things learned in kindergarten – with the insight I have gained over the past 15 years in parentheses:
- Share everything. (but write your name on it, roommates sometimes steal from you!)
- Play fair.
- Don’t hit people. (it is against the law when you get older)
- Put things back where you found them.
- Clean up your own mess. (if you don’t, no one will)
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours. (you will get caught)
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
- Wash your hands before you eat. (getting sick in college is not fun- your mom can’t make you soup!)
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. (but you should probably visit the Rec Center too)
- Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
- Take a nap every afternoon.
- When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. (especially when you ‘go out’ downtown)
- Be aware of wonder.
- Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
- And then, remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
- The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living. Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
- Think what a better world it would be if all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put thing back where they found them and to clean up their own mess. And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
Some things change and some things stay the same but in the end we all have to grow up. But for the next week and a half that I have left as a student, and for everyone else that has time left here, and for the future Seahawks – I suggest we listen to the lesson that Jay-Z and Alphaville live by and stay “Forever Young.”
— Jordan Hill