“I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 1:4-7

LOOKING at the extremely happy and relieved faces of this school year’s graduates, I cannot help but be amused by the peculiar position I am in.

On the one hand, I am looking at them with the fond eyes of one who has also made his pass. I therefore share in their feelings of joy and understand their eagerness to receive their diplomas and go out to face the bigger world, on their own at last.

But there is another, stronger, feeling as I watch these anxious new graduates line up for their togas or go to their graduation balls. Having taken up another course, I look with the awed and admiring eyes of a freshman at this year’s graduates, as if I haven’t tasted that particular kind of triumph myself yet, and at all.

I will be this hybrid kind of spectator for the next few years ahead. For some reason, that urges me to do doubly well in my own endeavors.

Every year’s batch of graduates becomes the heroes of the school. They have run the race and finished the course. Their smiles play little movies in the heads of neophytes or undergrads, who take the graduates’ places, at least in their wild imagination, smiling their smiles while walking up the stage to have their tassels moved by some dignitary, the guest of honor at the rites. They become the pride of their teachers and the educational institution.

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As for me, I feel I have landed onto a limbo of some sorts after my own graduation. I did not get employed, I did not test my will and wit against the “real world”, unlike many of my batch mates and most graduates. Instead, I delayed and sought the comfortable confines of the academic institution by again pursuing another course. So I feel I owe society much.

That is not to say that I am without direction, that I just enrolled because I do not yet know what to do nor where to go, and that I only hope to find clues along the way. Rather, being in my position and looking at the graduates challenge me to be delayed no longer, to finish my studies within the time it regularly takes to finish.

This can still be the same eagerness that I felt right after I graduated from college, the eagerness to find work that suits me and where I am suited so as to finally contribute something to the society, not to mention free my family of the burden of supporting me. But as I go on with schooling, my studies gains a little more urgency.

That urgency will be addressed. For now, I have become a neophyte of sorts again, but forfeiting in the process the way other neophytes might have looked at me when I was wearing that toga.

Surely, this is my race, this is my course—all eight years of it including my present course—and the challenge is to finish. And I will. But now, it is the turn of this year’s batch to shine, to be looked up to.

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To the graduates of 2004, may you remember only the good times as you leave for newer and bigger challenges. The bad times, well—there wouldn’t have been good times without them.

Congratulations, and God be with you.

Prayer: Almighty Father, we adore you. We ask for your forgiveness for the times we forgot you for some earthly concerns. We ask that you guide, guard, and bless us in our every endeavor. Grant that this year’s graduates always carry the spirit of eagerness to work in your name, and for your glory. This we ask through Christ, your Son, AMEN.

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