My family attended the graduation of our oldest daughter from the University of Central Florida last month. Two of the many colleges at the University were holding their commencement ceremonies at that time. As I watched the ceremony, I realized this was a perfect example of the importance of perseverance.
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After the opening remarks and speakers, they began awarding degrees to the graduates. They began with the students who earned their doctorate degrees. Next, the students were awarded master’s degrees. This part of the ceremony went rather quickly. The majority of the students were earning their baccalaureate, and there were over a thousand students.
The Importance Of Perseverance
The first students to walk across the stage or the distinguished students who graduated summa cum laude and magna cum laude. There were only a few of these. I began to think that the students were the only ones who didn’t struggle during the last four years. Studying was easy for them, and they probably didn’t change majors. The rest of the students understood the importance of perseverance.
I was not a good student in college. Consequently, I changed my major five times before I found one that interested me. I struggled and was plagued by procrastination, fear, uncertainty, lack of motivation, and even depression. Failing so many times I didn’t think I would ever complete the requirements for my degree. It took me five and a half years, but I persevered and made it.
My daughter struggled as well. She did not have high test scores. While her friends were attending a university she had to attend a local state college. After a very poor start and a “come to Jesus” meeting with me, she did well. She was supposed to stay at the state college for two years. Before completing her first year, she reapplied and was accepted for the fall semester at the University of Central Florida.
At UCF, her struggles did not end. She had difficulty finding a major that suited her. She would procrastinate in courses that did not interest her. Her grades reflected her effort. Finally, she found her niche in kinesiology, and she excelled. She told me later that she almost quit more than once because it got too difficult. Something inside her would not let her, and eventually, she found her passion. She understood the importance of perseverance.
As I sat in the arena waiting for the ceremony to begin, I began to reflect on her life. I was reliving important events of her childhood. I remembered the day she was born, her accomplishments on sports teams, and her high school graduation.
As the music began playing, signaling the start of the ceremony, I remembered a phone call I received. It was from her and she was screaming into the phone. I couldn’t understand what she was saying and thought something bad had happened. Then I understood the words, “Dad, I got in, I got accepted to UCF.”
As the processional of graduates continued, we finally spotted her walking into the arena. I could not have been prouder. It wasn’t that she earned her degree. A degree is not a guarantee of a good job or better life. I was proud because she didn’t quit. She conquered all obstacles.
I’m sure many other graduates went through equally difficult times. They all have one thing in common; they didn’t quit. The sheepskin that all graduates have does not mean that they are smarter or better than anyone who doesn’t have one. It stands for accomplishing what they set out to do four years before. That is the importance of perseverance.