Editor's note: I'm writing this because I never had the opportunity to deliver a commencement speech, and now I want to.

Dear graduates,

Congratulations. While you may think that completing Century Club or Power Hour (these are drinking games, old folks) were your ultimate collegiate achievements, you now have accomplished something that society recognizes as admirable and for which you will be rewarded with employment (hopefully). You are college graduates.

Now I want to take a moment and warn you of a potential byproduct that, by my estimations, affects approximately 50 percent of recent graduates, regardless of location, degree, or employment status. I'm warning you about post-traumatic college disorder (PTCD). Here's the definition:

Post-traumatic college disorder \(PTCD)\ n : a term for the adverse psychological consequences of sudden removal from a comfortable, healthy collegiate lifestyle into a monotonous work schedule.

If you think you are suffering from PTCD, please contact your physician immediately. Now back to the subject...

While it may seem that B.A.'s are a dime a dozen these days, I am here to assure you that they are not. Remember that half of your freshman class dropped out.

I was walking around Whatcom CC last week, waiting for my Italian II class to start, and realized how many hundreds of students around me were working to get to where you are. I picked up the college's "Horizon" student newspaper that day. Here's what the graduating Editor In Chief had to say in his farewell letter:

"At one point, I was thinking of being done with college after my associate's degree. But after talking to [Whatcom CC] President Heiner, I realized that he wasn't content with just a bachelor's degree or even a master's degree, he attained a doctrine. There's no reason to settle for average."

Hopefully, you already knew a few things about what the Editor In Chief had to say. First, you should know that the second sentence in the quote is a run-on sentence. Second, you should know that a doctrine is different from a doctorate. Third, you should know that there is no reason to settle for average.

Even if your first job is working at Starbucks because you chose an unmarketable major (i.e. theatre arts, liberal studies, philosophy, women's studies, art history, etc.), be satisfied working at Starbucks. If you're not, then move on. You are an educated person. You know what will make you happy and now you have the abilities to pursue that.

(Time for cliche closing quote) In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad." So, if anything, go out and commit grand theft.


Paolo, B.A.