The university’s President took the podium at my college graduation and said one sentence that has stuck in my brain ever since.
But first, let me give you some context.
I had a great time at college.
Sure, I worked hard, but I also had fun! I was involved with a fraternity, a campus christian fellowship, and sought to enjoy everything Chicago offered!
My roommate and I had a saying, “C’s get degrees.”
The whole reason for college is to get a degree – but even my father had told me that getting a 4.0 GPA was missing the point of college.
So when the university’s President took the podium and looked out at our graduating class, I started looking around too.
I saw some folks I played Ultimate Frisbee with. There was a group of engineering nerds who (so far as I could tell) lived in the reading room on the top floor of the tech building (we called it “The Graveyard” because no one talked up there!). Some folks were going on to med school or law school, for whom grades were a big deal.
So when the President said, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I pronounce you worthy of a Northwestern diploma.” It was a profound moment. I still tear up thinking about it.
There were no levels of diplomas. There was no different diploma for the group from The Graveyard, the popular kids, or those going to graduate school. The President told us we were all worthy. We all had the same diploma.
Somehow, even now, I want to separate myself out. Grade myself.
I’m not the same kind of business owner as she is! I’ll never have the success he’s having. (Let me tell you, nothing creates FOMO like meeting with 12 – 15 brilliant business owners every week and listening to how they are kicking ass.)
So, if you have those feelings, or compare yourself against others who have it “all together,” I’ve got two words for you.