UNITED STATES—Graduation season is upon us. Rather its grade school, middle school, high school or college, big festivities are taking place all over the world. I want to turn my focus to high school and college in particular. Leaving high school is the birth of becoming an adult so many say. Leaving college is the arrival of what many deem ‘real life.’

So as a society do we truly give our young adults more time to acclimate to a radical change in their lives? Honestly, no. I can vividly recall my high school and college graduation as it was yesterday. That final year of school produces what many of us like to call senioritis. It’s that illness where you care about virtually nothing.

Your only focus is just making to the end. With high school you tend to bid farewell to people who you call friends, but are likely to never, ever speak to again. I’ll be honest I don’t speak to any of the people who I went to high school with. It’s like something changes between going into the real world and entering college. Not precisely sure what that might be, but it happens. I don’t think high school prepares you for the harsh realities of the world; to be honest neither does college!

I recall speaking to a college buddy and we both came to the agreement that college is just an extended stay for people. It gives them the opportunity to have four more years to decide what it is they might want to do with their lives. There is one slight problem: you have to pay for it. Most people spend the first two years of college attempting to decide precisely what it is he or she wants to do when they get out.

By your junior year you may have made a decision, but with only a year left the panic starts to set in: what am I going to do? Yep, that is the feeling I had during my senior year, I kinda knew my major as a freshman, but just making to the finish line was a hustle for me alone. Once there, the big question came to fruition: its time to grow up buddy, the world is waiting for you.

The one thing that I can say that is great about graduation is the festivities that come with it. I mean after the celebratory event, most families head out to dinner. That is indeed tradition to say the least. For those waiters and waitresses graduation season is the perfect time to earn big tips with great service. Perhaps the one thing most graduates look forward to the most is those gifts.

Trust me there was nothing I wanted more from college graduation than a brand new car. Did I get it? No, but I was seriously hoping that would happen. High school was nice; I mean I lined my pockets fairly well with our green little friend. If I had to be honest, I might have pocketed $800-$1000. I can’t remember distinctly, than again, all I have to do is look at all the cards I got from that festive day.

High school is the stepping stone, college is the Eiffel Tower. I mean college graduation was so huge because I was the first in my family to graduate from a Big Ten university (Go Spartans!), sorry, I had to throw that in. I mean I just recall so many people taking pictures, giving hugs, it was my moment and I loved every single second of it, it was an amazing feeling to say the least.

That day and for the next few weeks I got loads of cash galore. Between my parents who were divorced I had about $1000, from brothers and sisters you can add on another $200-$300, from grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends of the family, I walked away from college easily with $3500 to $4000. Yes, I was a happy graduate to say the least and most of that money went directly to my bank account. I knew student loans were right around the corner so I couldn’t splurge too much, but I did take some of that money and treat myself to something. Heck, it was four years of hard, strenuous sacrifice; I deserved something for all my hard work.

Regardless of what milestone you’re graduating from remember it’s a time to celebrate. You’ve worked hard to achieve it, so at the least you can have a few hours or a few weeks to kick back and actually joy what you’ve accomplished.