I have a flair for making too many senior friends when I still have a lot of time to go in school. This has happened in the past, and it happened again this year. I made a list of all the seniors I have some semblance of attachment to, and the list topped more than 30 people. Oh, boy. Had to ask why I do this to myself time and time again.

I thought about it some more, though, and I’m so glad I enjoy making friends that are older than I am.

Why?

Because they’re great people. Because I love viewing and engaging in life from different perspectives. Because I’m not going to deprive myself of great friendships just because I’m scared to get attached to people that won’t be here much longer.

Because even though they’re graduating, they’re not leaving. Maybe they’ll explore the far ends of the world, but I’ll still be able to catch up with them every once in a while.

I’m a very nostalgic person, so I tend to dread goodbyes but lately, I’ve found them more bittersweet than altogether awful. Yes, I’ll be sad when it’s time to wish my senior friends adieu, but I’ll continue to be extremely happy for and proud of them.

Goodbyes can be tough but they don’t have to be permanent.

Here’s my message to you soon-to-be-graduates:

I’m so proud of you all. So happy for you. A lot of you are probably facing existential crises right now, but fear not. A great majority of life involves navigating the ups and downs, and you’ve still got so many opportunities and room to make mistakes ahead of you. You will be okay.

I hope you all find happiness. I hope you also find true love. That you meet your definitions of success. That you make yourselves proud. That you discover your passions. That you fall and learn how to pull yourselves back up. That you learn flexibility and adaptability, and build incredible goals for yourselves. That you live lives you deem worth living.

The real world is a big place but it’s time to emerge from your cocoons and show everyone the amazing people you are, and are becoming. I am aware of how ridiculously sappy I sound right now, but I mean every word.

I’m so proud of you all. Go be who you aspire to be, and continue changing people’s lives for the better. Congratulations and, of course, the obligatory Fight on!