UNITED STATES—June is here and you know what that means: graduation season is upon us. For many families, the graduation season pertains to those graduating from middle school and high school. When it comes to college many of those ceremonies transpired in the first few weeks of May, but there are a few colleges where graduation takes place in June.

The biggest thing about a graduation is not just the celebration, but the fear of what will happen next in life. I’ve graduated several times in my lifetime and the one thing I think I love most about graduating is for one day you are the center of attention. What does that mean? You are the talk of the family, you get to go out to dinner, you get gifts and it’s just a ton of fun and moments of memories that will last for a lifetime.

There is nothing like those photos with friends, with family, with teachers, with the world or iconic school mementos. I mean as a Spartan, you can’t graduate without taking a photo next to Sparty without your cap and gown. For parents, it is no secret for parents that those ceremonies can run a lot longer than it should be. I mean on average, I think a graduation rather its high school or college should not be longer than 3-4 hours. If I’m referring to HS, it should be around 2-3 hours max. I think anything longer than that starts to lead to boredom and restlessness.

I get so many schools want to have guest speakers to deliver inspiration to the graduates, but I can’t remember for the life in me the speakers we had at my high school graduation let alone my college graduation. It’s nice to have those people there, but let’s shorten those speeches so that things are short, sweet and straight to the point. I mean 30-45 minutes of chatting where you don’t connect with the audience is pointless, and for some schools they have more than one speaker which simply tacks on more time to the ceremony.

What a lot of people fail to realize is that a ton of things going into ensuring the graduation ceremony goes off without a hitch. You have the graduates having to line up in alphabetical order; the more graduates you have the more complicated it becomes. Not to mention ensuring those graduating with honors have precedence over those who are not. The behind the scenes chaos leading up to the big ceremony can be stressful as hell. I mean I thought high school was bad, college was even worse. Why?

There is just so much chaos trying to organize things, ensuring if you’re giving a speech you don’t blow it, not to mention that fear of tripping or falling as you walk across the stage to collect your diploma or degree. Now that we’ve gotten the stressors out the way, the conversation turns to what happens after the big day ends. For those in high school, the big decision becomes rather to take the next step to focus on higher education or to enter the job force.

So many students are so focused on just graduating they don’t actually think about their future. I hate to say this, but it’s important to start to think about your future and where your journey will next take you. With high school I was prepared to go to college, whereas, as graduation approached while in college, I was so concerned about just finishing so I didn’t have a clue as to what to do next. It was scary and it’s scary realizing that school is over and it’s time to become an adult.

It’s not just about entering the work force; it’s about taking on responsibilities that perhaps you hadn’t taken on before. Life is standing in front of you and you have to take it by the reigns and do whatever you need to succeed. I’m a firm believer that fear is the most stifling thing for most Americans. Not because we’re afraid to fail, but because we’re afraid of success.

Think about job opportunities months in advance before graduation approaches, think about the things and places you want to go, but at the same time realize nothing is going to be easy. That is the thing about life; nothing worth wanting comes without having to fight for it. A graduation is indeed a happy occasion, but at the same time it’s scary and places things into perspective. You control what direction you take in life, don’t allow anyone else to influence the decision you choose to make.