For students, from elementary to life-long, graduation is an important day. For anyone who has invested in themselves for a certain endeavour, whether that be high school, med school, or beyond the question of “what’s next” becomes all you think about.
In many ways, graduation day is the perfect end to book one of your life stories, just as it’s the ideal prologue to your book two. What is beautiful about a graduation ceremony is its success in neatly wrapping up and concluding a significant chapter in our lives.
At the time of your graduation, you may hold the belief that the ceremony itself is trivial – In many ways, it is. It’s not the ceremony that’s important; it is the act of learning to celebrate a milestone accomplishment with the people you love. An essential part of this milestone is the reality that “this moment in time,” may be (for most of us) the last time something in your life will end neatly and with formality. In many ways, the ceremony is the perfect goodbye. After the festivities, into the world, you go as a cohort. Into the world, you’ll change with the skills you’ve acquired.
To the class of 2020, perhaps you are the luckiest class. You’ve seen the wrongs of the world; you’ve felt the ruthless stab of disappointment – having your final semester stolen mid-course. As a class, you understand reality – because you were forced to live it. You recognize that life moves forward – regardless if you’re ready. Come graduation day, this year, there won’t be a shoulder-to-shoulder 4 hour ceremony – but still, you’ll run into the working world with grace and resiliency that can only be learned through going through some trying times
As a newly minted graduate, we wanted to celebrate with you and to share some lessons we’ve learned along our way.
- Celebrate Wins, Big and Small – Real life is far from perfect, it’s messy and simulations beautiful. In life, we’ll all have our moments of triumph, just as we’ll have our moments of despair. As you go through life, take the time to celebrate both the little things and the big things. Celebrating successes, both big and small, will help you to recognize just how far you’ve come and will help you stay focused on your goals.
- Never Underestimate The Power of a Positive Mindset – Again, life is far from perfect. As sovereign minds, we each have the power to choose our mindset. When life throws, it punches, sewt up, and decide to see the good. When we make a conscious effort to stay positive, we allow ourselves the creative freedom to transform a challenge into an opportunity.
- Accept Change – Change is constant, and ever-present. As uncomfortable as it can be to change your views or habits, get comfortable with the uncomfortable and learn to accept change with ease. As Darwin famous said, “it’s not the strongest of the species that survive, but the most adaptable.”
- Believe in the Future – Choose hope. Hope is powerful. Through hope, you can envision the life you want to lead. With hope, change can be ignited, and dreams can turn to reality.
- Use Your Voice – You have a voice, use it! Get out of your head and speak up for what you care about. We are fortunate to be living in a time where voices that were marginalized are finally being heard. Use your voice to spread love.
- Love, Unapologetically – Falling in love is both thrilling and terrifying. Fall in love with how you are, the company you keep, what you do, what you believe in, and so much more. Love allows us to be vulnerable and present, traits that will enable us to connect with peers and to lead with empathy as we grow through life. Always be open and willing to love, unapologetically!
- Forgive – The sooner you learn to forgive, the happier you’ll be. Life is too short to live in the past and to hold old grudges. When we forgive, we allow ourselves to outgrow past experiences and allow ourselves to move on with our lives. Forgiveness allows you to move forward with life.
- Stay Curious – Explore your world with a curious eye. Ask questions, seek answers, find new solutions, and discover causes to care about. When we commit to a life of curiosity, we commit to a life abundant with never-ending learnings.
Welcome to the world, Class of 2020! You are the first of your kind, and you will introduce older generations to new ideas of thought. As you grow through life, we hope you’ll hold these words in your heart as you strive always to do what is right.