Graduation has occurred! As of two days ago, I’m officially a Master of Human-Computer Interaction. Lesson learned? Even if the cap & gown distributors say “Everything should be set, ” try on your cap. Otherwise you’ll look like this guy…

me and jenn at graduation.  my cap is too small

Anyway, moving on. While my graduation message from last year still inspires me, I’ve been thinking about something new to say. About a week ago, I remembered something my friend Alex Switzer said to me in high school about our debate careers. “You know what I realized today? Every debate career – unless you’re the national champion – every debate career ends in a loss.”

If you don’t know Alex, or how awesome of a debater she was (I think it runs in her family), to her this realization was a depressing one. And while her thought was targeted toward debate, I think the sentiment is universal – when a chapter draws to a close, I think negatives become more prominent since they seem to represent the career that led up to them (plus that silly Psychological notion of the recency effect).

I’ve heard a few people mentioning how things have been ending on a sour note, and that’s been true for me also. After what seems like such an interesting and compelling time, it really sucks to see any part of it end on a sour note.

But if anything, I take Alex’s message as a positive – when it comes to debate, all that means is that, ultimately, practically everyone ends up the same. In the case of debate, that final chink in the armor is almost inevitable. And so it goes with other things in life – ultimately, the final event is simply another event, with the same odds of being a win or loss as the one before, or the one before that. While it’s hard to do during a big transition, I think it’s important to remember the experience you had as a whole, and not let the last moment get to you if it’s not in line with where you want it to be. Ultimately, we live experiences the best we can in hopes of learning something for the next big experience.

Don’t regret leaving prematurely. Just let it spur on the next experience.

And, of course, congratulations to this year’s graduates (that’s me!) and this year’s 2/3 graduates. “You’re Almost There!”

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The conversation continues...

  1. On May 24th, 2006 at 12:37 am, Jenn said:

    It’s not quite win or lose. When caught up in the moment, we see things in black and white. But when I look back, it’s different. It’s all perspective, knowing that I have learned so much, experienced so much, so much for the future. That itself is a win.

    And the resentment I feel is only because I judge people in a certain way, and perhaps I was not right to judge them in that way. But then again, we move on, we should care more about the future than holding onto the past.

  2. On May 26th, 2006 at 2:51 am, Harper said:

    Just because I feel like disagreeing with Alex, I can imagine someone going 1-4 at their last debate tournament picking up the last round. So this person’s last debate round would be a win, it would just occur in prelims rather than outrounds. Perhaps we should rephrase Alex as saying every good debater’s debate career ends in a loss. For the record, mine ended in a loss. Not that this means I was good.

  3. On May 26th, 2006 at 7:03 pm, zsz said:

    You disagree with Alex? Man, she is so going to 10-point all your responses and then twiddle her thumbs for the remaining 7:59 of her constructive.

    I think every person’s debate career ends on a sour note, if not necessarily a loss. The 1-4 might win their last round, but they didn’t clear to outrounds. Anyway, I thought it was telling.

What do you think?