On Leaving Dunbar

My senior classmates and I are at a threshold—on the margin between coddled childhood and anxious adulthood, between high school and colleges or careers and between the past and the future. The diploma conferred to us after our four years at Dunbar is at once a physical emblem of concerted effort and success as well as a symbol from which introspection can spring.

Graduation is an educational analogue of a somber coming-of-age ceremony where my peers and I welcome the blank slate of maturity and our new access to status, higher education and careers. But our coming-of-age is less of a testament to knowledge of algebraic relations, literary theories, or anything really associated with conventional notions of education. As beloved satirist and author Mark Twain once quipped, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” So I ask what remains as the distillation of the Dunbar experience when the extraneous is evaporated?

    A set of relationships. A web of shared communications, emotions, and experiences between those who will don caps and gowns in a few fleeting days. A collective appreciation for the teachers who imparted wisdom and advice above the prescribed regiment of syllabi, lectures and administrivia.  An undercurrent of respect for the staff and administrators who remove any obstructions to the progress of the intellectual engines fine-tuned here.

    Happiness comes from accomplishment and success. Time moves with a mellow constancy, in methodical deliberation. Life does not subject us to our experiences, but grants them to us so that we may savor them. This miracle of meticulous time presents a luxury—the many recesses that time chips away in our lives, the holes between practices, classes, and parties, that allow us to quietly contemplate. Contemplate, perhaps, on how Dunbar has provided us with scintillating experiences—set the mind into motion with friendships and passions that resonate for years to come. Contemplate, perhaps, with gratitude on the many levels of our intellectual pyramid, selflessly supplied by family, friends, and teachers, who have assisted us in our ascent to this peak.