A Few Reflections on Commencement and the Class of 2019

Where did the time go?

For those of you whose students graduated this past Saturday, I imagine this is a thought that has crossed your mind several times since then.

Wheeler lawn overflows with happy graduates and their families.

Being a part of commencement—even peripherally—has always been one of my favorite things about working at a university: a crowd of excited soon-to-be graduates; happy (and sometimes relieved) families and friends; witty mortarboards; loads of smiles and a few tears. What’s not to love?

You’ll get to meet some of the members of the Class of 2019 in the July issue of Longwood magazine. (If you would like to be added to the magazine mailing list, email me at browncs2@longwood.edu.)

Yahoo — all through!
Commencement means smiles all around.

I guarantee you’ll be impressed with how Longwood has prepared them for life after graduation.  Here’s a bit of a sneak preview:
—Two young women are heading off to teach in a remote village in Alaska.
—One student was inducted into the U.S. Army and will be working on a Ph.D. in emerging infectious diseases at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
—Another is already working as a storyboard artist for SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon.

I must admit I see commencement a bit differently now that my own daughter has walked across the stage at her university. It’s one of those occasions that marks an end and beginning, so I’m wondering if we’ll be together next Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m wishing I’d spent more time talking to her about things that matter. I’m wanting to know a little bit more about the person she became during her college experience. And, of course, I’m very excited about what lies ahead for her.

It’s a Longwood tradition for faculty to greet students after they cross the stage.
The identities of seniors who portrayed Longwood’s mascot, Elwood, are revealed at commencement.

So, for those of you whose students have a year or three or four still to go here at Longwood, this is my advice. Resist the temptation to wish for your student’s remaining college years to pass quickly. Instead, savor every experience—the amazing, the not-so-good and the unexceptional. All of these experiences will help your student grow. Spend time with your student when they’re home for a break or on the weekend. Do a little talking and a lot of listening.

Family members get to celebrate, too!

Parent Pipeline is wrapping up for the school year with this post. I will have an additional post coinciding with Orientation, and then resume regular Thursday posts in August.

I hope you have found some useful information here as well as content that makes you feel more connected to your students.

Finally, I would be extremely grateful if you’d share any ideas you have for posts in next year’s Parent Pipeline. This blog is for you, so please let me know what you would find most helpful and/or meaningful. Or you could let me know what your favorite posts were this year.

You can email me at browncs2@longwood.edu or post your ideas in the comments section on the Parent Pipeline Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LancerParentPipeline/.

Have a great summer!

—Sabrina Brown