Sometimes you find what you’re supposed to do by doing what you’re not supposed to do.

In twos, shouldering burdens fifty times our weight, I marched next to you
as the teeming crowd lumped us into boxes, our bright futures
fated as our cardboard crowns perched precariously on our heads –
further evidence that our participation-trophy-childhoods hadn’t lost
its steeled grip on the helm that directed our prescribed paths
while we gulped anti-anxiety pills down with the rest of our choices.

Of all the decisions made to sit here -in row 27, seat C – how many were my own choices?
Hundreds of parents leering, like the oncoming boot to crush the ant, to congratulate us,
to mechanically applaud your first (last?) step on a path
that looks too much like theirs for us to be satisfied with the future
ahead. And based on the number of trembling lips and the listless lost
atmosphere lingering over the graduates, it’s not all in my head.

Tassels swing like the gallows as we twist back-and-forth, our heads
unconsciously refusing to accept this ceremony and wondering if we chose
to play along in the first place. But here we stand – and then sit – and then stand again – in a game already lost.
I wish I could roll the dice again because I keep landing on Boardwalk and you
swallow my pink paper money as if that could guarantee your own future.
There are no shortcuts on that path.

But I say that as if my path
was any different, too innocent to cause heads
to roll. Each generation thinks itself better than the last, but the future
contradicts the intentions of the past. I wonder if my own choices
be as devastating – from the ones who could only afford Mediterranean Avenue, to you
who have invested everything you own to never lose.

But if you play the game like that, I think you’ve already lost.
Truth be told, there is nothing I can do to prevent any backlash, no path
so smooth. I just wish that would’ve been in the parenting manual you
read when I was the size of a grape, an apple, when my powdery bald head
fit in one hand. Did you regret any of your choices
when you contemplated this little future?

What relative term – because here we stand, in that imagined “future,”
in the millisecond before it lingers in the present and tumbles into the past. I lose
you in the crowd. I’m on my own now. And so, I make the first of many choices
and hesitate on the stage, my outstretched hand reaching for the paper to start my path.
Thoughts pound, insistent knocking on the door, in my head
and I turn, eyes scanning the crowd, peering for you.

Because on graduation day, you’re old enough to finally realize
that the only path you care to take
is the one that heads home.

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You’re miserable, edgy, and tired. What a perfect mood for journalism.

Yet another reason that I’ve been missing from the blogosphere — my job. But here’s the evidence that I’ve still been doing stuff and not just dropped off the face of the earth…or maybe the edge of internet? You choose, I suppose.

Seniors forced to choose between walking and running
by Sydney Sheltz

Bethel College’s graduation ceremony is scheduled as the same day as the NCCAA Championship and senior members of the track and field team are being forced to choose whether or not to run their race or to walk the stage for their diploma.

This is the second year that both of these events have coincided on the same day and some of the seniors are having a hard time choosing between the two.

Avante Newsome Gunn, senior at Bethel, participates in the 100 and 200 meter races, the 4 x 400 meter relay, and long jump.

Gunn will be graduating at the end of the 2014 fall semester but when asked how it would affect her teammates she said, “We’ve all graduated high school before but track finals are a once in a lifetime opportunity. Who knows if we will ever be able to run competitively again? I’d rather do something I love.”

Gunn isn’t the only one who feels this way.

Cinnamon Green, senior at Bethel College and the first person in her family to graduate college, is a member of the track team and throws shot-put, hammer, and weights. Because she is a first generation graduate, this is an important choice for her.

When asked to explain the situation Green said, “It’s like having to choose from your track family and your actual family. It’s a lose-lose situation.”

However, Green has decided to participate in the track national finals. “It’s my last competition and I want to go out with a bang.”

Like Green, senior Tanner Foust will be a first generation graduate. He runs the 100 and 200 meter races, the 400 meter race, the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 meter relay as well as competing in high jump.

Foust has also chosen to run in the track finals rather than attend graduation.

“I’m going to graduate school for physical therapy so it’s not the end of school for me. I’d rather finish my track career and compete,” Foust said when explaining his choice.

Foust also said that some of the seniors had tried to remedy the problem by talking with vice president of academic services, Barb Bellefeuille.

“We met with Barb Bellefeuille about a month ago,” Foust said.

According to Bellefeuille, Bethel College is taking steps to try and remedy the situation. She said, “We have already contacted the NCCAA and ask why they are holding finals on the day when most colleges in the nation will be holding graduation. The most important thing is that is that the seniors receive the honor that is due.”

As of right now though, the graduation ceremony is still scheduled for Saturday, May 2, 2015 and the NCCAA Championship is scheduled in Rome, Georgia from Thursday, April 30, 2015 to Saturday, May 2, 2015.