Last year, I wrote you a letter (If you haven’t read it and want to, it’s right here).
This year, you get an entire blog post dedicated to you. Really, it is a very big thing, you should feel special.
Because you are.
Today is the day, you’re graduating. Just like that, four years of high school, 12 years of mandatory classes, and ultimately your childhood is about to be behind you. Once you cross that stage, there is absolutely no going back. You have made it.
For the past four years, you have made new friends, suffered through boring classes, taken the SAT’s as many times as it took, gone through the stress of college applications, and so many more things that led you to where you are now. In advisory, you spent four years with the same people and now, you may never see some of them after tonight until the high school reunions that seem so far away. People told you to make the most out of high school, that it would be “the best four years of your life…”
I think they just said that because those are the only consecutive 4 years any of us could really remember that well. Whether that’s true or not, here we are.
Take a look at what waits for you on the other side of graduation. Your future is uncertain, none of you really have any idea what the plan is for the rest of your life. Maybe you’re going to a university, 4 year, community, or military. Maybe you’re taking a gap year or following a dream. Maybe you’re going to trade school or joining the working work right out of high school— that’s the thing. There are so many options and so many different roads to take from here on out. In the end, it’s your choice which way you go and there is no one but you telling you where that yellow brick road is.
Because, well, you’re not in high school anymore.
So forget the petty drama, the detentions, the bad grades, and the missed connections. Let go of the admin rules, the rebellion against the system, and the groups you were never a part of. Walk away from the long classes, the scheduled days, and the essence of irrelevance.
None of it matters.
From here on out, you’re growing up and everything is changing. High school was only the beginning. You’ll see what I mean when you’ve been out of high school for a year and have no idea how things look so different. They just do.
Four years ago you walked onto a new campus, back to the bottom of the food chain, ready to show the world of high school what you’ve got. Maybe you wanted to go out for sports, join a bunch of clubs, get the best grades ever, and sail your way into a good college or wherever you might go after that. Some of those years were rough— it’s only four years but its funny how long they can seem when you’re in it. And some of it was the time of your life, you found people who it all made sense with, and high school didn’t seem so bad. By year four, you’re a senior. Taking on the first day of school for the last time, ruling over all of the rallies, and making the most of the time you had left.
Everyone else looked up to you all.
Because they knew, soon enough, that would be them. And they needed to know what to do, how to be, and what they were headed towards. One day, you would graduate and leave them a legacy to fulfill.
Who knew that day would come so soon?
Leaving Vista last year, it was the end of an era. There were some people I would really miss and most of my class that I would probably not see for the next 10 years, at least. After going from seeing people every day to seeing them every few months, you’ll see what it really means to have certain people in your life due to proximity. And if you’re as lucky as I have been, you might also understand what it means when I say distance is not enough to keep some people apart. No matter what you do from here on out, remember that if you want people in your life or you’re striving for something big, it takes effort. A lot of it. But it is always worth it in the end.
So as you cross that stage and head off into your future, don’t forget where you have come from and the person you have become. If you don’t like who you are, you can change it. And if you do, surround yourself with people who will make you even better. Whatever you do today, make sure you thank your parents and anyone else who got you to that diploma in your hands. They’ve done a lot for you. Make sure they know how much it means to you.
Welcome to the rest of your life, what was the best summer of my life, and young adulthood at it’s finest. This is only the beginning and I am so proud of all of you, both those of you who I knew well and those of you I didn’t. Because you made it, today is your day.
Make it count. And happy graduation day.
P.S. I was right when I told you about Disney Grad wasn’t I? Best. Night. Ever.