Kudos to Chaia for a nice graduation post. Irrespective of one’s religious views, the thing that clearly shines through is that she is ready to take on the world. Best of luck to her as she commences with her new chapter in life.

On that note, congratulations to all of my friends who are graduating. I was trying to think of the right thing to say, so I too will start with a definition of graduation:

A line (as on a vessel or ruler) that marks a measurement.

Haha, very funny. But stick with me, I haven’t really missed the point of my own post. It struck me, in reading this definition, that the various graduations we go through in life are critical points that we can mark, to measure not only what we’ve done so far but what we plan to do before the next point of measurement.

Many of my friends, both in Pittsburgh and in Omaha, are graduating this May (or receiving an empty diploma and really graduating in August =P). In all honesty, it seems a little hypocritical to try and offer advice to recent graduates. What message is that sending? “Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished. But despite all of it, you probably haven’t learned much about dental hygeine, so don’t forget to floss.” I have distinct memories of sitting in an auditorium last Spring, packed with thousands of other anxious students waiting to get a diploma, listening to some woman who I didn’t know (but was apparently well thought of) deliver her “graduation advice” speech that was actually stitched together from a number of other “graduation advice” speeches.

My friends, you don’t need that advice. If you don’t floss currently, me telling you to do so won’t change that, whether your graduating that day or not. If you would rather get the perfect tan than put on sun screen, no amount of listening to that speech put to muzak will convince you to change your behavior. After all of your hard work, you don’t need another lesson.

A couple weeks ago, my Project professor set up an Alumni Panel for the MHCI students in Project. One of the alums was particularly inspiring. She said:

What you are about to do is so important; not only for the design community, but for the world at large, and product design in general. Everything that everybody touches out there has an interface. You know that, but I’m going to say it again. This is tough stuff, and what you do is hard work, and… a lot of people don’t understand. Know what you do, know how to explain it to others, and know that you’re really good at it, and don’t let anybody tell you any different.

You have no idea how my spirit soars every time I hear that quote (we recorded the panel). But even if you aren’t in HCI, you should take that message to heart. Be confident in your knowledge, and go out into the world with your head held high. You’ve spent so much time devoting yourself to your skill, and you now have greater expertise than most people you’d pass by on the street. That is an amazing accomplishment, and one you should be so immensely proud of. Best wishes to you all.

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The conversation continues...

  1. On May 7th, 2005 at 2:06 am, Chaia said:

    Wow, your post was amazing and awesome. Thanks so much! = )

  2. On May 14th, 2005 at 6:35 pm, Val said:

    I miss you and I hope that you are doing well. By the way, if I don’t live in Pitt or Omaha, do I still count (even if it is Iowa)?

  3. On May 14th, 2005 at 7:32 pm, zsz said:

    Well, I suppose Iowegians are still ok…

    Actually, I meant my friends in Pittsburgh and from Omaha. I think that statement is more comprehensive. :)

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