An Open Letter to High School Graduates

May 29, 2015

It's hard to believe I graduated high school just a year ago. It seems my life has transformed completely within such a short time span. 

"Bittersweet" is a world you'll hear thrown around a lot during these weeks surrounding graduation.
Many things may feel like they are coming to an end all at once: the end of high school, the end of living at home, the end of seeing your friends, and - for many of you - the end of life as you know it. I challenge you to stop focusing on these endings and goodbyes. Whether you're taking a gap year, getting a job, or as many of you are, going off to college, the future is a great unknown. And while you might be caught up in the excitement of graduation (the parties, proms, and caps and gowns), I also know that you are probably a little nervous. Scared, even. 
Change can be frightening. It is disruptive, mysterious and often uncomfortable. But as I have learned in the one year between where I am today and when I standing in your shoes, change is always worth it. What if you get to college and hate it? What if it end up being the best four years of your life? What if your post-graduation plans fall through? What if they don't? No matter if the outcome of change is good or bad, there is a reason for everything (even those things that don't go as planned)!
It is time to stop the worrying. I was, and still am, a worrier. But in my times of uncertainty and when I have pits in my stomach, I turn to the proverb: Worrying does not change the outcome. 

A sea of unknowns before you, the best thing you can be doing in this awkward limbo stage is focus on the positive. How can you advance your future before it begins? What can you do to get pumped about what's to come?

By the end of senior year, I was a conflicted individual. I had succeeded in high school and was preparing to attend my dream-college in the fall, but I failed with some of my friendships. I was sick and tired of my high school, and frankly everyone in it, the epitome of teen angst.

I write this now after an amazing year, a transformed person. I have grown in maturity, faith and confidence. I have succeeded both academically and in my relationships. This is not to say I don't hit bumps in the road. But isn't that what life is about?

I leave you with this: graduation marks more beginnings than endings. So dive in head first and prepare for the ride of your life.

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