The sun will always rise. And it will always set.

Scraped knees will heal. And so will broken hearts.

Some of the most important things I’ve learned throughout my twenty-two years on this planet, I have learned outside of the classroom. Notwithstanding the importance of formal education, but, honestly, the best lessons in life are the ones learned outside of that four-walled box called a classroom.

I’ve learned the best things in life are free, you get what you give and someone else’s lunch always tastes better than your own. Are these traits that can be tested, judged on a scale, statistically drawn up and compared against your peer’s on a bell curve?

Yes, if that test is life.

Sadly, however, not all of us will make the grade. As my wise, yet unschooled uncle taught me during a week long, cross-country road trip, “It’s just not in the cards.”

There we were, stuck in Colorado, with a flat tire as night began to fall on us, as well as a heavy snow. And as I stood there, vehemently spreading vulgarities into the night, he told me it just wasn’t in the cards for us to reach Utah by night’s end.

Those words never meant so much to me as they did that night, with the exception of my thoughts on my fellow students.

Will you make it? Will I? Will any of us? Or will global warming and global war be the end of us long before we have to worry about mortgages and IRA’s?

It’s a big, scary world out there, and here we are snug as a bug in a rug at UVM, some of us without a care in the world. Others preparing for the world beyond the safety zone they have melded into for the past four years, readying themselves for the unknown; for careers; for trials and tribulations; for life.

I leave you with a parting phrase, friends, one that I also learned on that road trip. In the words of my uncle, “Peace-Love-Dove.”

I never found out the true meaning of that phrase on that trip, but I’m sure it has something to do with everlasting peace and love, and I’m sure I will never ever learn the true meaning of it in a classroom.

So as the sun sets on this year and our scraped knees heal, I wish you all lucky, and I hope we all make the grade someday. And remember, some of the most important things you learn may be in a classroom, but the best things in life are free and those lessons are the ones that count.