December: a time for family and a time to tie up loose ends before the new year. December is also when many of our students have reached a long-awaited goal: convocation.
For many graduation candidates, convocation is a milestone. However, some may see it as just another thing on the to-do list. You’ve met all your course requirements; why take the time to walk? It’s just one more obligation in your already busy lives.
I challenge those of you to see things differently. The average age of CLS students is 36, so most of you have a behind-the-scenes support system of spouses, children, parents, in-laws, bosses and co-workers. While you were cracking the books and dealing with assignments, these people willingly stepped in and managed family, work and everyday life. Depending on how long you’ve been enrolled in our program, they’ve been watching you make progress for two (or more) years! Point is, they’ve helped you get to where you are today.
During December, in the spirit of giving, what better gift to give your loved ones than for them to see you recognized for your achievements? For them, this is a reward for being a source of support for the last several years.
Last year, I met one of our graduates, Jennifer Berry Gooden, who was crowned Miss America in 2006. While the title was an honor, it interrupted her studies at OU. A year after receiving the crown, Gooden was married and living in North Carolina, but still had dreams of earning her degree from OU. CLS is where she turned. Like Gooden, all of our students bring different experiences to the table. And what better way to mark your achievement and give back to your family than to attend convocation?
If you recently graduated: congratulations. Students: enjoy the break, and we’ll see you next month.
Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.