About a month into her freshman year of college, our youngest called home and said, “I don’t want to major in math anymore.” While she may have worried we’d be disappointed, that quickly dissipated when we said, “What do you want to do?”
Kirsten switched to Corporate Communications with a minor in Business. Got a job at the Daily Texan – which last year was named the best student newspaper in the nation. Worked her way up from editing, to copy desk chief, to associate managing editor. Spent a semester in New York City interning at an entertainment management firm.
Then came the last semester of her senior year and – like so many – she’s finished up taking online classes, homebound to stay safe from the pandemic. That meant missing out on celebrating with friends, saying goodbye to coworkers and, with hiring on hold, having a chance to interview for her entry into the workforce.
Today and tomorrow, the UT-Austin Class of 2020 holds remote online commencement. Kirsten won’t get to experience the walk across the stage with her Moody College of Communication classmates or the music and fireworks celebration with all 8,000+ graduates in front of the Main Building. She’ll dress in her cap and gown, we’ll play ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ on my iPhone, and raise a toast in the backyard.
The end is different; however, the achievement is the same as past generations. Four years of hard work. Youthful rites of passage. Growing into an amazing woman. Graduating with Honors. Life filled with adventure ahead.
During our honeymoon, Kathy and I made a list of near-, mid- and long-term goals. It’s amazing how many came true during the past 31 years. One is my favorite: “Our children graduate from the University of Texas.” While we later encouraged all three to consider other schools, being raised in a home where the mother did a burnt orange laundry load each week, the father spent way too many hours talking Longhorn football, and a UT flag flew on a tree out the front door, perhaps they were predestined.
Thank you to Kirsten, Kyle and Kelsey for joining mom and me as five graduates from the Forty Acres. The Eyes of Texas ARE Upon You.