#MyGraduationWas: Carl Hairston

By Carl Hairston

“Veni, vidi, vici”. The famous words of Julius Caesar. “I came, I saw, I conquered.” In my mind, college was meant to help me grow, learn, excel, and leave with lifelong friends and more importantly a job. I sat on my bed in my empty room on graduation morning proud of myself because I achieved these things and more. However, in the back of my head I knew this was expected. My parents sent me to college to graduate, so today was the long awaited arrival of a foreseen celebration.  So what is next?

Days Before:

My undergrad institution (Elon University) has a week after exams and before graduation where seniors get to unwind, relax, and maybe have a party or two…..or three. There are university-sponsored events such as a senior cookout, gala and academic department ceremonies. As an underclassman, I stayed around for previous graduations to enjoy the festivities and send my senior friends out with a bang. Some of those seniors cried, some laughed, and some just looked unsure.  I remember looking at them wondering what my emotions would be when they day came. Now I found myself able to answer those questions. Say bye bye to meal plans, to being able to walk across campus and see my fraternity brothers and friends, to impromptu house parties, to Midnight Meals wings. These college amenities were on their way out the door. I was about to move to Charlotte and enter the corporate world. I had already signed my lease for my apartment, and bought furniture. I enjoyed the parties that week, but in the back of my head I kept thinking, am I ready to completely be on my own?

Day Of:

IT WAS HOT! No honestly, we graduate outside, in a very historic lawn on campus. So as I sat there in a maroon robe, a stole, dress shirt, bow tie, and slacks I was burning up. However, I constantly reminded myself how blessed I was to be in that position. My parents did an amazing job raising me, and I knew how proud they were. I could see it on their face, and I could see it on the face of my brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. In some form or fashion, all of those people helped me reach my achievement, so that day was a celebration for all of us. So of course, I had to turn up graduation night right? Nope. I was so worn out from the whole week, that I fell asleep on my parents couch right after my graduation lunch.

Days After:

I took a few days to just relax and hang with friends from back home before I moved. It finally hit me about a week later that I was actually done. I probably looked at my diploma 20 times a day. This was earned with a lot of hard work, lot of prayer, and a couple bottles of my favorite college drink Bacardi Lemon. When my it was time to move to Charlotte and start work, I was finally ready and confident. God brought me this far, he wasn’t going to let me fail in my next stage of life.

In summation, #MyGraduationWas A victory lap. I finished one race in life’s circuit. Now it was time to rest, remember my lessons learned and get ready for the next race.  

My advice: Enjoy your last few days before the real world. Cherish your friends, have a good time. Someone sacrificed for you to have these moments. Never forget that. We are all recipients of un-prayed for blessings. So take advantage of those and go into your next stage of life confident and open for anything.

Photo Credit: Danny Sellers