Graduation Rituals – Cultural and Practical

The season of graduation is upon us. This weekend the University of Vermont will be awarding degrees. Soon local high schools will be playing pomp and circumstance as the class of 2019 receive their diplomas.

There are a lot of cultural rituals already associated with graduation. Of course, the graduation ceremony itself is a meaningful ritual for the student about to embark on a new life adventure – whether a new job or career or advanced schooling. The graduation ceremony is a marking of the end of one phase of life and the threshold to the next. I remember when I graduated from high school, I couldn’t wait to turn my tassel from one side of my mortarboard to the other, signifying that I was – at that moment – a high school graduate. My college and seminary graduations were similarly significant to my identity.

Less formal graduation rituals include parties with friends and family, gifts to help the graduate embark on their new journey, and other markers of increased responsibility and arrival into adulthood. High school and college graduates, often take on more independence as they move away from home or set up their first adult household.

One responsibility that is not often associated with graduation, but probably should be, is filling out an Advanced Directive. An Advanced Directive is a document through which you can make known your health care wishes in the event that you become unable to make those decisions yourself. We often think of this kind of document as something to consider when we are old, but it is important at any stage of life. Unfortunately, accidents and sudden illness can happen at any age. No matter your age, it is vital that your loved ones and medical professionals know your wishes. You can also name a health care advocate, which is a trusted person designated to make medical decisions if you are unable. It is essential that you have a conversation with your health care advocate so they truly know what you would want to be done in a medical emergency. Click here for an Advanced Directive you can download from Vermont Ethics Network.

Enjoy graduation, revel in the ceremony, and party with your friends and family! Then, consider taking the next responsible step by completing an Advance Directive. If you have any questions about Advanced Directives, end-of-life planning, or personalized graduation rituals, I would love to talk to you! Contact me today!