Sunday, May 24, 2009

Giving And Graduation

Toyah Texas School
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
In 1978 when graduating from Springfield High School in Akron, Ohio, I accumulated over $200 in gift money. A little more than three years later when I received my bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University, I might have received about $100 in gift money—maybe. Seven years later, I received a Master’s degree in Vocational Education from Northern Arizona University and following graduation, I found myself completely broke with a five grand balance on my credit card. As a result, I ended up selling my ski and camera equipment so I would have gas money to drive back to Ohio for a visit with the family.

I wonder if my experiences in these life’s accomplishments are unique? I suspect they are not. So, I’ll ask the question: Why is it that when almost anyone graduates from high school these days, we lavish all kinds of gifts on them? Yet, when some of these same people go on to earn degrees in post-secondary education, professional certifications or licenses—often going into debt in the process—there’s little fanfare compared to that which is associated with the achievement of something as a mediocre high school diploma.

Perhaps when we receive the announcement from a relative, friend or neighbor who is completing their high school diploma, nothing more than a twenty-dollar bill should be offered. After all, they are only achieving today’s “minimum daily requirement” in this common achievement. However, when they complete their associate’s degree, or secure their multi-engine pilot’s license, we should up the ante—each time for the completion of a higher level.

Given this philosophy of giving, think about how unfortunate it might be for you and your pocketbook to know someone finishing up their Ph.D.

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