Faye Arcand

Don’t listen to the naysayers.

Auntie Says…Don’t listen to the nay-sayers.

I can’t believe that its June and students are attending their proms and commencement ceremonies. I remember my graduation from high school like it was yesterday. Nothing has changed much. Well, maybe fashion—oh, and technology and maybe the societal attitudes and acceptance of social issues…and of course there’s the hair—it was very big back then… Ugh. Who am I trying to kid? The world is a completely different place than it was when I graduated in the ‘80s and for the most part, it’s a good thing. 

There’s an old saying though that states that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” and when it comes to graduating it’s especially true.The ceremonies, often founded and steeped in tradition, are still the same and valedictorian speeches continue to be filled with hope and delivered with a deep impenetrable sense of immortality and timelessness. Graduation is a rite of passage. An accomplishment and achievement that takes time, dedication, and diligence only to then be over in a flash.  It’s a very positive time in life but there’s always those who try and shoot everything down and riddle it with negativity. The presence of nay-sayers is something that hasn’t changed after all these years.

When I was in high school I knew that I wanted to go to university and work in the my field of choice. I worked hard, both in and out, of school to make it happen.

“What do you want to go to university for? There’s no jobs out there.” I was told by family   friends, strangers, and anyone with an opinion. They were relentless.

“Even with a university degree you’ll still end up flipping burgers. It’s just a waste of time and money. University degrees are a dime a dozen,” they said.

People were negative but I didn’t care what they thought. I graduated high school in June and started at Simon Fraser University that September. It was one of the best things I ever did. Actually, ignoring the nay-sayers was the smartest move. I’m sure those opinions swayed many not to go and that’s a shame. The thing is, I still hear those exact arguments and comments today. My advice—don’t listen. My university degree opened doors and afforded me opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.

Graduating from high school is more than just getting your diploma, it’s about growing personally and setting a course for your own future. For me that meant university, it’ll mean something different for each person. It’s up to you to decided what it is. Work, school, trade, travel…whatever it is, believe in yourself and always put your best self forward.

Donning that cap and gown is significant in that it is the end of your high school education but it’s also the beginning of a life full of choice, realization, and forever learning. If you set your mind to something you can do it. If you want to achieve it, you will. Keep your head held high and take a deep breath as you step into the future. It’s yours to claim in any way you see fit. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers or those that want to hold you back. You are powerful and can do anything. Watch out world—here comes the graduating class of 2018! Congratulations.

Originally published by Black Press June 22, 2018

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