My little sister is graduating college tonight. That’s right, I’m feeling old. But more than that, it’s gotten me wondering about milestones and checkpoints.

The first 20-some years of life are filled with checkpoints. Birthday parties, moving through each grade, getting a driver’s license, being able to legally purchase tobacco or alcohol if so inclined. And for some, graduating college or grad school. It’s the final milestone in a school career, the light at the end of the tunnel, the last marking of time and achievement.

So when do you feel you “graduated” in your writing life? Was it finishing that first draft? Finding a critique group? Getting your first rejection? Signing a contract? Or seeing the book in print? I like to think I’m at least through freshman year. How about you?