Celebrating success: A graduate’s perspective on commencement

Celebrating success: A graduate’s perspective on commencement

Walking across the stage at commencement with family and friends cheering in the background marks a significant milestone in life. That moment gives graduates an opportunity to commemorate all they’ve learned and accomplished. While life is busy, and it may be tempting for them to quickly move on after Pomp and Circumstance fades, CityU graduate Charles Smith suggests that fellow graduates take time to savor their success.

“It’s so valuable for us to realize that we all have our reasons that are similar and different for wanting to complete a degree – a better job, more money, for family or other people –  but we all share this sense of pride and accomplishment and belief in ourselves that we’ve cultivated through completing this degree,” Charles said. “It doesn’t matter how anyone else views our degrees, they should transform how we look at ourselves.”

Charles sees graduation as a hallmark of students’ abilities to overcome obstacles and successfully see something through from start to finish.

“A fundamental of being human is esteem for ourselves, Charles said. “It would do well for all of us to really sit in that and internalize what graduating means for us for the rest of our lives. It is something that we can always keep with us and point back to.”

Achieving a goal and pursuing the next

Charles Smith
Charles Smith

Charles is part of the City University of Seattle graduating Class of 2018. At commencement, he’ll be receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology, and plans to continue on to earn a Master of Arts in Counseling through CityU.

“I’ve always been really intrigued with the helping professions,” Charles said. “I have had experience in therapy and see it as super beneficial and an area where I can effect change.”

He has specific communities in mind that he hopes to support.

“The area I want to focus on is working with incarcerated offenders and their reentry with the goal of reducing recidivism (return to criminal activity),” Charles said. “By addressing offenders while they’re incarcerated with therapy, we can better prepare them for reentry.”

By completing this degree and moving on to the next, Charles is following the example he watched his father set.

“I saw my father go back for a master’s and Ph.D. a decade ago and he had kids and worked full time and I saw that it worked for him,” Charles said.

He is now setting that same example for his children: graduating after transferring schools and programs and balancing work, family and school.

“So many emotions,” Charles said. “Excitement and happiness. Relief in a way to be completed. To reach this finish line, it makes me feel that going forward there are other difficult things life will present and I’ll have this degree to say – ‘I did that, and I can do this, too.’ I feel it so tangibly.”

We celebrate with Charles on finishing his degree, and look forward to congratulating him on the next.

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Published June 7, 2018


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