Lindsey Rae Writes The Day: Graduation Taught Me Three Important Lessons


The stage for Lindenwood University’s undergraduate ceremony.

Lindsey Rae Vaughn at the undergraduate Lindenwood University Ceremony at the Family Arena in St. Peters, Missouri on May 17, 2014.
Lindsey Rae Vaughn at Lindenwood University’s undergraduate ceremony at the Family Arena in St. Peters, Missouri on May 17, 2014.

Lindsey Rae Vaughn | Staff Reporter
Posted on May 20, 2014; 1:30 p.m.

There are many things that college students are often forewarned about but never truly understand the meaning of it until they walk across that stage at graduation.

It’s like a huge slap to the face once you take off the gown, move back home and realize you don’t have classes and you won’t ever again.

Graduation itself is a perfect first trial of adulthood.

Like many college students, I went away to college.

According to the Higher Educational Research Institute at UCLA via, 38 percent of college students attend a school within 50 miles or less, 15 percent within 51 to 100 miles and 37 percent within 101 to 500 miles.

I’m the 37 percent.

I am only the third in my family to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, but the only one that is close to the majority of my family. Needless to say, my family made a big deal about it.


My parents divorced when I was 2-years-old. I don’t ever remember them being together except for my graduations. Sometimes, it’s awkward trying to jump back and forth between the two families to make sure the other doesn’t feel neglected. But balancing is one thing I’ve learned from it and must learn in the ‘real world.’

I Can’t Please Everyone

Between figuring out how much man-power we needed to move me out of my apartment, making sure I had enough time to visit each side of my family and keeping all my family members happy, it was a very high pressure situation.

Not everyone was happy all the time. Some family members complained about how cold the graduation was, they couldn’t find me afterwards, they had long, stressful drives ahead of them, etc. All of these things were true, but no matter what I did, these things were inevitable. Learning that I can’t please everyone was another lesson I was taught.


Now, I’m back at home and living out of boxes and tubs. I thought I would have my whole life organized at this point. Isn’t that what graduation is supposed to signify?

You’re supposed to have all your stuff straightened out. I haven’t unpacked, I haven’t cancelled my electricity and internet, I don’t have a place of my own to live in and currently, I’m not working, along with the other  40 percent of U.S. graduates, according to

What did I go to college for if I didn’t come out prepared?

I realized that my life is like my house right now: full of boxes. They are arranged by compartments, some are unpacked, but others will take longer to empty out and get organized.

My academic box is empty. My career box is ready to be unpacked, but I have to wait until I get other boxes in order before I can get to it. I haven’t even touched the apartment box. But eventually, they will all get emptied and reorganized. It will just take a little patience, which is probably the most important thing I learned from graduation.