A letter I wish I could have given myself the morning before I graduated.
You are about to graduate. Literally. You are about to wake up and dad will already be awake. The first thing he will say to you this morning is “we made it little bit”. You’ll laugh and love that he said “we”. You’ll rush to the shower wanting to hop in before your mom. After your shower, you’ll try your best to hide the dark circles under your eyes that are still lingering from the stressful end of the semester. You will take a few attempts at eye-liner, shrug and think you’ve never been able to put it on anyways. After you finish running the straightener through your hair for the 100th time, you’ll hold a long gaze in the mirror trying to embrace this moment. You’ll look at your white dress, white nails, and put on your graduation cap for a sneak peak. You’ll grin a little and start to get teary. Before you can let fear resonate, dad will yell to hurry you along, him knowing you have every intention of grabbing Starbucks before being dropped off at checkin. You’ll yank your cap off and rush to the car.
You’ll make it to Starbucks in plenty of time to meet Cornelius for a final undergraduate coffee date. When you see each other, you’ll hug longer than usual. Over coffee and bagels, you’ll talk about the ceremony to come and avoid too much talk about jobs. You both know today is about past success and not about the future. You will arrive at graduation jamming to WVAQ with Cornelius. Because, duh, you couldn’t imagine any other way to go out. You’ll check-in together and then be forced apart by the alphabet.
You will wait in the auditorium, looking at all the decorated graduation caps and embracing the excitement. You’ll listen to people talk summer plans and future jobs. You’ll get a little knot in your stomach at the thought of having zero responsibility starting tomorrow morning. And then after many, many minutes of waiting… You’ll walk across the big stage. Thankfully, you’re not going to fall, so let that worry go. You’ll get your diploma and after you sit back down in the squeaky auditorium chair, you’ll think.. “I can’t believe this is real. What’s next?”
I’m not going to lie to you. We’ve always been real with each other.. The next year of your life is going to be challenging. You’re going to experience every emotion possible and you’re even going to want to quit. But spoiler alert: you’ll never give-up.
As you begin this journey, know right now that you’re going to have good days and you’re going to have some bad too. You’ll get homesick, it will take you three months to find a job, you’ll lose someone else to cancer, there will be family issues, you’ll fight depression, you’ll miss college and your best friends a lot, and there will always be stressful days on the horizon.
But please, cling tight to the good. You will have a great job, you will find a church you love, you will make some new friends, you will get to reunite with your family, you will eventually see a paycheck again, you will stay involved with Make-A-Wish and you will always, always get by. And best of all, you’ll experience it with your best friend.
So stop worrying. The fear you feel right now is only going to hold you back
And a year from now, you will look back and feel happy for every ounce of struggle you had to endure, because you finally understand that even though you’re not sure what you’re dreaming of, you’ve never stopped searching and that is an accomplishment in itself.
God will place you right where you are meant to be. Now wake up and go graduate, Shae. You’ve got big things to go after.