A Message for Graduates

If you’ve recently graduated from high school or college, you may be feeling what I’m feeling.

Confused. Lost. Fearful. Conflicted. Off balance.

Life as you’ve known it for your entire existence is changing. So many paths lie ahead of you, but which decisions will be the “right” ones?

Will I move out or stay home?

Will I continue your education or enter the workforce immediately?

Will the people in whom I’ve invested so much of my time, energy, and emotions stay in my life?

There are countless unknowns ahead and that can feel very discomforting. For me, feeling like my life is beyond my control is just about the worst thing ever. But take it from someone who is feeling exactly the way you do – everything is going to be okay.

When everyone around you is asking you, “So how do you feel now that you’re done?” and “What’s next for you?” remember, it’s okay to say “I don’t know.”

Believe it or not, everyone has been where you are. Everyone. Even the most confident and successful people have felt unsure and lost at one time or another. They’ve gotten through it and so can you. This is just the beginning.

There are so many choices ahead of you for the rest of your life – whether or not to pursue further education later, which job offer to take, where to live, who to invest your time in, when to have children, where to travel, how to allocate your money, what religion to practice, how to spend your free time, what to eat… Life is full of choices. Some big. Some small. Some tough. Some simple.

Ultimately, your life and your character are the accumulation of your choices, but life is too brief to look at those crossroads with dread. Rather, these are opportunities to make your life better and fuller with every passing day.

Look back on your life up to this point. It went by fast, right? My dad always told me life happens in the blink of an eye and he was so right, though I hate to admit it. For me, a recent college graduate, it feels like just yesterday I was in 6th grade studying ancient civilizations and thinking I was the big dog on campus. It’s been 11 years since then and I can hardly believe it. Now, here I am, feeling like a little guppy in a big ocean of sharks and I don’t even know which direction to swim in.

As cliché as it is, tomorrow is not guaranteed. All you can do is your best – make decisions that you can be proud of, try new things, do what brings you joy, and invest in the people, things, and activities that make you a better person. When you look back on your life, these moments of anxiety will be a waste, if you even remember them at all.

So congratulations to you, graduate! You’ve earned it. Consider every choice an opportunity and each stage of your life a blessing. Enjoy it all and don’t sweat the little things. Go forward, find your passions, and take care of yourself. Life is too short to do otherwise. We’re rooting for you every step of the way.