Monday, May 8, 2017

Graduation tale

It is graduation season across the land, which means once again thousands of young people wrestle with the Eternal Question ("Which way do I turn the tassel again?") and glitter shortages pop up everywhere as grads decorate their mortarboards in a manner WE weren't allowed to back in the day.

It's also one of those rare times when the lines of demarcation in life are so sharply defined you can almost see them. There is childhood, and there is adulthood, and when you walk onto that stage and take that diploma you've worked so hard for, you finally and irrevocably pass from one to the other. If your season of learning will never really end, your season of formal education has. As has, presumably, your season of maturing.

This season is as important as all the others in the college experience, because a good half of that experience is about learning how to be a grownup. And maybe nowhere was that more clearly on display than at The Ohio State University over the weekend, where a young man named Cardale Jones walked across the stage and took in hand his degree in African-American and African studies.

If the name sounds familiar, it should. Cardale Jones is the guy who quarterbacked Ohio State to the national title in 2014 after starting the season third on the depth chart. He's also the guy who, five years ago, famously tweeted that they were all here to play football, not to play school. School, he declared, was "pointless."

Cardale Jones was a freshman then. And not yet a grownup.

Five years later, he mocked his younger self in glitter on his mortarboard on the day of his graduation. College, you see, did exactly what it's supposed to: It took him from childhood to adulthood.

And in a season of celebration,  that is indeed something worth celebrating.    

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