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  • Writer's pictureJames B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D.

College Graduates Celebrate Their Day And Now Have Unlimited Opportunities

College graduations have taken center stage. Final examinations are over, and students were approved to receive their degrees. There was unbridled excitement and joy.

The hard work and long hours paid off. Sacrifices that were made by your family members have now made you a member of the select company of college graduates.

Being a college graduate requires discipline, flexibility and commitment, especially during these days as there are more non-traditional students. They are juggling family and work responsibilities while attending school.

According to reports in 2023, 1.9 million students earned bachelor’s degrees and 989,000 students earned an associate degree. Further reporting says almost 35% of people 25 and over earned a bachelor’s degree.

There is a debate at some levels about the importance of a college degree. Critics of a college degree say that companies give you the necessary training for the position, thus a college degree is not needed.

Proponents of a college degree say that knowledge acquired while there gives you a foundation for an ever-changing world. They further say attaining a college education will make you more marketable in the workforce.

My old school habits and mores have always been on the side of having a college education. While growing up in North Carolina, my parents stressed the importance of education. Attaining as much education as you could assured you a better quality of life. They believed in that axiom.

In my neighborhood not everyone had a college degree, yet education was still the gateway to success. Going to high school back in the day meant that you were being taught by men and women who had college degrees and had certificates for teaching.

Teachers were widely respected in my hometown of Winston-Salem. During my high school years, my teachers talked about the importance of going to college. Fortunately for us, they prepared us for that next step. Some of us received academic scholarships while some of us received athletic scholarships. Regardless, we still had to take and get a good score on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test).

Our college graduations were filled with pomp and circumstance. Like most senior citizens, we can remember our college days like they were yesterday. It is my measured opinion that college allows you to grow cognitively and emotionally. In addition, you meet people who are now lifelong friends.

I entered Johnson C. Smith University, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) located in Charlotte NC as a traditional 1 st year student. Over time, I met students from

many parts of the world.

I graduated from college more confident and self-assured. During my college years, I developed some life goals and aspirations. The college experience for many of us was a defining moment in our lives.

Still now in 2023, college is a place where you see role models and you have unique and wonderful experiences. Today’s students are traveling around the world learning new skills and ways of doing cutting edge research. The learning they get overseas broadens their perspective and how they view the world.

College degrees are recognized in all walks of life. It is still something that people want to achieve. In a way, it is a calling card. Almost daily, you hear about professional athletes who have made millions of dollars, yet still want that elusive college degree.

Michael Jordan, Venus Williams, Shaquille O’Neal and Todd Bowles are just a few examples of professional athletes and coaches who returned to school. These days, you see more athletes leaving early for professional careers. However, we know that not everyone makes it to the next level. This is why having a degree is so important.

Congratulations and much success to members of the class of 2023. Your goals and dreams are head of you. You believed and now you have achieved.

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