High school graduation season has arrived, and the signs of the “season” are unavoidable! Every store front has a prominent display of graduation cards and gifts, homes are adorned with yard signs boasting that a “2019 grad lives here,” and social media is flooded with commencement photos and well-wishes.
Although the hoopla may arguably be a little cheesy, I still find the occasion inspiring. Graduation season is filled with hope and excitement for what the future holds. Families are proud of their graduates and graduates are proud of themselves. They finally made it.
But somewhere mixed in with all the smiles, commencement parties, and mortar board pix is a group of unfortunate souls—the forgotten graduates of the class of 2018. They were filled with the same optimistic spirit this time last year, only to return from their first year of college with a lot less zeal.
The next chapter of their lives hasn’t played out to be quite as exciting as they had envisioned, and the optimistic graduates have become the disillusioned graduates. I saw a social media post this week from a 2018 graduate that reminded me just how disillusioned they can be. The post read:
All these high school seniors are like “can’t wait to see what the next chapter holds.” Gaining 15 pounds and spending $300 on a textbook, that’s what it holds.
Wow! That is a shortsighted summation. I concede that for some the next chapter does include overpriced books and a decline in physical fitness. But that’s not all it includes! The next chapter, especially for those attending college, also includes learning opportunities, finding resolve, and discovering talents you didn’t even know you had.
Sometimes we encounter individuals on our team who are similar to the disillusioned graduates in that they too have become disenchanted. They’re disappointed with their place on the team, and their disillusionment poses a potential threat to the team’s culture.
When we encounter teammates like this, we need to remind them to stick with it and to keep grinding. They may not yet know what they don’t know. Offering encouragement from your perspective of experience can be empowering to them. You understand that the current chapter, or even the next chapter, might include hardships. However, you also understand that those unpleasant experiences are part of the journey.
Reassure your disillusioned teammates that their current chapter isn’t their last chapter, and their next chapter may be a set-up for their best chapter.
Sharing your knowledge and a little encouragement with disillusioned teammates struggling to grasp the need for patience and perseverance is a good teammate move. Go out of your way to convince them to stay the course.
And for those disillusioned graduates from the class of 2018 who happen to be reading this, realize that the “freshman 15” and $300 textbooks turn out to be minor, and eventually laughable, inconveniences. Don’t let them deter you. Keep pushing on.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.
By the way…
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