Dear Graduates . . .

People throwing up graduation caps.

For some of you, you are taking your final exams and gearing up for a virtual graduation. For others, you have already experienced a virtual graduation. Let me take this time to say CONGRATULATIONS! You have truly done and experienced something no other class has experienced. You have transitioned to an online learning environment in your last semester of school and some of you did this while schooling your own children. You battled working conditions (some of you were laid off from your jobs), and still managed to complete your assignments in order to graduate from college. No other group of students can say that they have accomplished this feat. Hats off to you all!

The world is full of uncertainty at this point, but there is one thing that is certain: you all are warriors. This time has caused you to gain thicker skin in ways you never imagined. You learned that you can multitask in extreme situations (hopefully you’ve learned some new organizational systems). You’ve also learned, or have been reminded, to take things day by day because every day is literally different from the one before. As you move forward after graduation, give yourself some time to revel in the celebration. Don’t just listen to kind remarks by friends, family, and professors, but look in the mirror and say kind and affirming words to yourself.

You are a rock start. 

You did the unthinkable.

You navigated new territories and succeeded.

You managed home life, work life, and school life in a pandemic.

You didn’t allow fear to take over.

Moving forward, you may be looking for new jobs or trying to advance in your current career. Some of you may have started your own business during your schooling. Take note of everything you’ve learned about yourself and weathered during this pandemic, along with the rest of your academic career, and promote that!  Let your boss or interview committee know what you’re capable of by telling them what you’ve accomplished. Let potential business investors know that you complete what you start and move forward even in less than positive circumstances. Give examples from your own life of how you’ve succeeded and done more than you thought you could. Don’t take this experience for granted. This is your time to shine and your time to brag, so do it!

As you take a moment to breathe from the experience of college, remember this poem by Barbara D. MacAdam:

A Graduation Blessing

Embarking on a journey which began some time ago, how

could you have imagined all the things you’d come to know.

You learned to use each challenge as an opportunity,

to overcome each problem, despite adversity.

It wasn’t always easy keeping up with what was “cool”, but you

held on tight to your beliefs and carried them through school.

You found your voice and chose a path that honors who you are,

and that, I think, may be your greatest lesson learned thus far.

For no one could be prouder of the person you’ve become,

and that is why I’m confident that the best is yet to come.

May you never waste a moment “wishing” life was not unfair.

rather use the gifts God gave to you, to change the world out there.

Your Graduation signals us that you are on your way,

so spread your wings and fly my dear,

forever and a day!

Congratulations Graduates! Keep moving forward.

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