By Ryan Self, Student Reporter
It is a time of celebration. Graduation: when those of us who finally have finished their college career walk onto the stage as students and leave the stage as alumni. It is a time to remember, to take pride in an enormous accomplishment. But for many, it is a time of great fear.
The ACU graduating class of 2009 will be entering one of the worst economic climates in recent memory. With countless jobs being cut and unemployment on the rise, the outlook is grim.
For many, this is the time when the cherished recollections spent in college are traded in for the realities of adulthood and the real world. This is the time when memories of Sing Song, spring break campaigns and social clubs become pictures on the desks of 9-5 jobs.
We gain something much more important during our time here than merely a diploma. Hopefully during our four (or five) years here as undergraduate students, we have gained something more valuable than a frilly piece of paper in a frame: community. It is this community that was perhaps a large attraction to come to this place, and it is this community that hopefully we will retain after we leave.
Perhaps a silver lining in this current economic downturn is that it has forced many Americans to put things into perspective. The pursuit of the million-dollar home, the luxury car and the reckless overspending that created this mess have been dampened as many suddenly find themselves mainly concerned with providing basic needs for their families. Adjustments have been made. Dreams have been re-evaluated, and when we come out of this recession, we will be better for it.
We have learned to value what is more important than careers or the things that have been pursued by so many for so long. We have learned the people around us are what make our lives so rich. Perhaps many will begin to learn faith is what makes the hard times more bearable. Our community and our faith is what will pull us through these hard times.
Community and faith: these are more valuable than any diploma. These can sustain us during a cold economic climate that is sure to test those who are now entering the workforce and those who have found themselves reassessing retirement because of financial setbacks.
It is impossible to gauge where we will be a year from now; just ask anyone who recently has lost a job. Those of us who still have years remaining here should take hold of every opportunity we get: academically, spiritually and socially. Here we are given a place to not only strengthen our resumes, but to strengthen our faith, and we should never take it for granted.
We can leave ACU knowing these things are not found only here. If we cannot take our friends and community with us, we know our faith will stay with us wherever we find ourselves one year, five years, ten years from now. Although the times are tough, in the bigger picture we have little to fear.
For the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.