The night of July 27, Levittown had its most recent graduation ceremony in the JetBlue Sky Theater at the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center in Garden City. Before entering the theater, friends and family—along with their graduate sons and daughters, siblings, children, parents and grandparents—gathered in the outer area walled by its ceiling high windows as the sun began to set.
There were both tears of joy and of sadness that evening. The happiness came from the anticipation of starting a brand new life and a job our graduates will love, no longer having to give change at Burger King for a living. The letdown was that, though some former students will stay in touch with their peers, others may never relive the joy of personal and emotional interaction with their classmates that they had while at Hunter.
Some graduates talked to each other and their families about the rest of their lives. Where will I be five years from now? Many of us live by the day, thinking that times will never change, that things will always be the same.
Though Hunter welcomes graduates to come back and talk to the new enrollees about their journey and experience, most will never return, no matter how powerful the encounter their life change has brought about. All being on a different course of life, there will be no more hanging out at the school.
Graduates who had one last thing to say to their classmates said it on this night. Everyone was moving on to a new adventure, and slowing down was not an option.
The memories—oh, the memories—however will live forever. Each graduate thought about those few moments in class from the previous months that were the happiest or the most poignant or the greatest of all time.
So maybe some of these graduates will occasionally call or text each other in future, but like the ever evaporating smoke over a campfire, most will savor only nostalgia. They will remember laughing at themselves, the long nights of studying, and hope for the future, the reason for what was at times stressful.
Two points of time, both past and future, wrap around these graduates’ minds. Those are the fabulous times they had with their classmates, colleagues, and friends while in school and the wondrous things to come out of their education. And then there are those who will be friends forever.
Will they still remember everything they learned in school? Will these graduates still try to break the rules?
Each of our futures is in our own hands. Please remember, though, that we love when graduates come back and visit to tell us how life is going for them. Though Hunter Business School is a business, we care. Never forget that.