A diploma does not define you

Kellie McCown

Excitement has filled the air as we at LMC enter into the last few weeks of the spring semester.

For some students, this is a more exciting time than for others.

For some students are graduating, finally receiving that covenant piece of paper validating all their efforts and hard work.

And while the diplomas that will be handed out on May 24 are important, I encourage all graduates to remember that the dipolmas that they receive do not define who they are to the world.

Education, is without a doubt important. It is a key for freedom.

A good education can take someone to places that they never dreamed of.

But, a good education does not make for a good person.

During my time at LMC, I have been praised for my writing skills by professors and my peers, and I would be a liar if I didn’t say that there was this little part inside of me that feed off of those elated feelings of validation.

And while I do give myself credit for my progress in journalistic writing, I also know that merely being a good writer will not make me a good, productive member of society.

Meaning, a good education with a lack of manners and courtesy does not equal success.

Time after time at LMC I have been cut off in the parking lot, bumped into without an apology, and have dropped notebooks without anyone so much as giving me a second glance.

I have seen people blatently littering, cigarrette butts scattered by the Math Building, and have been victim to less than stellar bathrooms.

All these things committed by smart people who are graduating.

My father always told me that it didn’t matter how smart you are, if you didn’t know how to hold a door open for someone. I remember he first told me this after I had laid into my mother for her collection of Daniel Steele novels, essentially accusing her of not being as intelligent as I was when at the time I was reading Steinbeck, Vonnegut, and writing lengthy research papers on “Paradise Lost“.

At the time I had rolled my eyes, saying that my father’s comment made no sense. But now, being older and back in school and seeing how some of the younger students act towards each other and towards LMC, I understand what he was saying.

Your education doesn’t define you, how you decide to use it does.

Being able to utilize critical thinking skills along side social skills is what makes for a truly successful person.

It’s not only about being an educated person, it’s about being a good person. And how we act towards each other as fellow human beings is what makes all the difference.

It’s what seperates the students who simply know how to get a 100 percent on a test, from the students who know how to get a 100 percent on a test and then go out and utilize all the concepts and theories that they learned in college, and truly make a difference.

To go out and truly make the world a better place.

Perhaps Minor Myers Jr. said it best. “Go out into the world and do well. But more importantly, go out into the world and do good.”

With that, I encourage all of LMC’s 2013 graduates to set out onto the next stage of their journeys with their eyes not only down set on the text books, but also to raise their heads high set their eyes on how they can make their stamp on the world.