Education, graduation, convocation

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The success of one inspires the dreams of many.

Those are the words written on a card I received after graduating from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. And over the course of three days, each with two convocation ceremonies, many successes were celebrated.

Hundreds of students will head into summer with certificates, diplomas or degrees, and continue on their individual journeys.

Individual in the sense of respective, because if any final lesson can be taken away from three full days dedicated to the recognition of academic achievement, it should be that the fulfillment of dreams and goals does not happen in isolation.

The same is true in education.

For me, having the support of my family as I pursued my degree allowed me to happily pursue it. The encouragement of faculty members and mentors kept me striving to do my best, to challenge what I knew or thought I knew, and to truly hone my skills. The support of colleagues, peers and KPU all ultimately contributed too. And I imagine I’m not alone in my thinking.

Not only was this support needed as I earned my credential – it was this community that gave me my education.

There is no difference, after all, between school and the “real world”, or student life and “real life” – it’s all one of the same. So while I spent a lot of the past four-and-a-bit years at KPU, the full education I was getting came to me 24/7.

On top of formal classes, there were internships, where I learned from people who aren’t, first or foremost or whatsoever, teachers. I learned from people who were just starting out in their careers, and I learned from some of the best in the field I sought to enter. It was through these opportunities that I not only got to apply what I’d learned at university, but was told what I needed more of, what I did really well and what skillsets are needed for the workforce is headed – all tools and tidbits that I carry with me today.

There have also been mentors along the way, many of whom came into my life directly or indirectly via KPU. Some helped educate me on the state of journalism today, while others shared their personal philosophies about life, careers and pursuing one’s passions.

Family taught me about prioritization, friends taught me new perspectives, peers taught me teamwork, bosses taught me leadership… the list goes one, as do the numerous things learned from the people around me.

Convocation is a culmination of that, but is certainly not the end. Outside of the classroom, there remains the opportunity to learn more about the world around us, and more from the world around us.