GraduationGraduation is a time for celebration. Friends and family come from miles around to praise the achievements of hard-working students and commend them for their success.

Graduation provides an opportunity for students to look back at their work and revel in the fact that they met or exceeded all of the academic standards set before them. Graduation is also a time of quiet reflection, an opportunity to measure how far you’ve come and how much farther you have to travel.

As you embark upon the milestone of graduation, here are a few things to remember.

Breathe: They call it a “commencement” ceremony because you are at the beginning a new journey. It’s okay if all of your post-graduate plans have not come together. Keep working hard and continue to move in the direction of your dreams.

Grad School: If grad school is an option, be sure to do all of the necessary research. Make sure that a graduate degree is necessary for the job that you desire. Find out where you can get the best education for the lowest price. Talk to a guidance counselor. Find out where the graduates of a particular college or university are placed once they have finished the program as well as their average salary.

Utilize your resources: If you are looking for a job or an internship, be sure to stop by your school’s career services department.

Write it down: This season, full of so much joy, will bring many challenges. Consider keeping a journal. Write down what it felt like to wear that cap and gown and walk across that stage. Write down the fear and exhilaration that comes with moving to a new state for a new job. Write down your goals and your setbacks. Journaling will help you sort out your feelings and identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Have fun: No explanation needed!

Live HOPE. Give HOPE.