Commencement is coming up--it's just 15 days away! I find graduation ceremonies to be quite validating: a commencement honors those who put in the time, the discipline, to get to the end and receive the degree. That's a big deal, especially at a school like MSOE that provides a rigorous academic challenge.
Sometimes, I talk to students who don't necessarily want to participate in the commencement ceremony. In such conversations, I talk about validation. The ceremony is for the graduate, but it's also for the audience: those graduating with you, family and friends, and the faculty/staff at MSOE that helped each graduate get to the ceremony. It thus validates the individual receiving the degree but also the people who participated in that graduate's educational process. It validates the process itself.
It's not often we can participate in public events that are designed to validate. It's important to take advantage of them when they come along. Here's a video I'm fond of that honors validation--I hope you watch it.