Trust Matters JUNE 2020
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Looking Back at How My Graduations Shaped Me
June is the beginning of a new chapter for many graduates, but this year, things don’t seem quite so concrete or even celebratory. In the aftermath of COVID-19, many schools postponed or canceled their graduations — some even stopped schooling before the semester was scheduled to end — leaving many graduates to end their academic careers with a whisper instead of a bang. It’s disappointing to think about the memories they will miss out on, and my thoughts go out to every graduate feeling the pang of a missed opportunity to celebrate their academic achievements. Keystone Law’s own Ryan Magel can sympathize. Ryan was set to graduate with his bachelor’s degree this spring, and while he will still have that diploma (and we are so proud of him!), missing out on that chance to “graduate” from his program has to be a little disappointing. I can still remember the way I felt walking across the stage at my own graduations. At my high school graduation, there was that crystalizing moment of realizing that nothing would ever be the same. I had a great core group of friends in high school, and while we still keep in touch, we took our own paths and created our own lives. I think that’s the beauty of high school graduation. You get to create your own path afterward. Next up was my graduation from my undergraduate schooling. I had earned a degree in engineering, and naively, I thought that would carry me to my first job. I had this idea that if you graduated with an engineering degree, employers would be lining up to hire you! Instead, for the next few months after that momentous occasion,
I discovered that this wasn’t how the whole job thing worked.
Ultimately, that led me to law school. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, and since I didn’t have a job keeping me grounded in one place, I figured I might as well continue my schooling. I made a promise to myself that by the end of my third year in law school, I was going to be in a position where I would be offered a job after graduation. I set my sights on it, and that’s exactly what happened. It was an incredible feeling after three years to earn that J.D. You work so hard in law school, study for an insane amount of hours, and grind at your job or internship. The chance to celebrate with my graduating class and receive that degree was validating. It was a great conclusion to a hard-fought chapter. All this is to say that I really feel sorry for the graduates who will miss out on the ceremonious aspects of the end of their academics. Still, nothing can take away from the work they did and the commitment they made to their education. The best advice I can offer the class of 2020 is to focus on figuring out what it is you want and then figure out how to get there by starting backward from your goal and working toward how you’ll start. You get to choose which road you travel down, and it’s completely acceptable if that road looks different than what other people think it should be. Nothing is worse than realizing 10, 15, or even 20 years after your graduation that you are not at the point you want to be at.
Ryan is all smiles!
So if I can offer you any pearls of wisdom, then it’s that nothing can take away from all the hard work you put into getting here, and nothing is stopping you from creating the path you want to take next. Congratulations to the class of 2020, and a special congratulations to our very own Ryan Magel!
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