Pause the Moment


In her graduation speech on May 30, 2015, Salutatorian Megan Effinger encouraged her classmates to pause to cherish moments like this.

Good morning graduates, parents, faculty, staff, and guests, and happy graduation day class of 2015! What an honor it is to be standing up here in front of group of students as accomplished and tenacious as yourselves. It has been a blast watching my peers succeed these past four years in various activities. Some of you I’ve known since third grade, and some of you I have probably never met, but just the same, I am happy to have gone through this experience with each and every one of you. You’d think four years is a long time, but look how quickly it went. Unless you have impatiently counted down to this day since freshman year. The trouble with that is, well, one it’s a lot of counting, and two you probably didn’t have a chance to enjoy it. If you weren’t counting, surprise! We’re graduating!

It’s so easy to just pass time in between checkpoints by looking to what’s next, especially in months as crazy as this one with prom and AP testing and final grades and sports events and now graduation. I feel like I spent all of May anxious for the next step. Only three more days until Friday. Only two more days until hanging out with my friends. Only one more day until my last day of high school ever.There’s a rude awakening. I just wished my way through 30 days of life. Life is what’s happening when we’re busy making other plans, so sometimes it is important to just press pause. Pause the moment and see what’s around us because after today, never again will all of us sit in these seats in our maroon robes and funny hats awaiting those five seconds of fame while we’re accepting our diplomas.These are memorable moments that we don’t want to miss, so just… pause.

Instead of counting down, take it all in. Whether we like it or not, life will move fast, and there’s no point in dwelling on our mistakes or possible mistakes or almost mistakes. We’ve got hundreds of people sitting out there in the audience supporting us in our decisions and actions at this very moment. They, are what’s in between the big events: our family and friends. My mom, who watches crummy reality TV with me. My dad, who builds shelves with me in the garage. My brothers, who play video games with me for hours on end. Those are the kind of people we’ll miss when we’re anticipating something that comes after now. Instead of counting down, take it all in. Enjoy college. Work hard, meet new people, and don’t forget to press pause because when it’s over it’s over, and there is no rewind button.

So….. here’s the deal: In a few minutes our names are going to be read off one by one, and then Dr. Koch will be the one counting. He’ll count down the last three seconds until we proudly throw our hats into the air for the wind to take. BUT. Don’t let those seconds just be seconds. Let them be milliseconds or nanoseconds or whatever increment of time comes before that. I’ve been told that those three seconds hold the biggest surge of joy and apprehension, hope and excitement thus far, so don’t dare be thinking about what comes after the ceremony or tomorrow or next week. Don’t dare be watching the birds or preparing your hair for the big group shot. Don’t dare miss it. Take a second; pause the moment.

Congratulations class of 2015 and thanks to all who helped get us where we are today.