It's crazy how quickly life passes. One minute, you're barely entering kindergarten. You're clinging to Mom's leg and are scared about whether or not she'll actually pick you up after school (she always did). The next minute, you're mere days away from your college graduation. Your cap is decorated and your gown is hung up in your closet, ready to be worn alongside several hundred other students who have gone on this journey with you.
But what we often don't realize is how the people around us are the reason we arrived at graduation. So this one goes out to the biggest cheerleaders in our lives: the people who got us to graduation
To Mom and Dad: Thank you for everything. You pushed me when I needed it and held my hand when I wasn't ready to let go. My opinion of you has changed for the better over the years and I wouldn't be where I am today without your constant love and support.
To my dearest roommates: You stayed with me through everything; dates that didn't work out, long nights, laughing so hard we cried, hosting Christmas parties, Welcome Weeks, and everything in between. Anybody who has lived with me and hasn't killed me deserves thanks, and you deserve that ten times over.
To the man who has my heart: I am better because of you. I have learned so much about myself and about life and love because I have had the privilege of having you in my life. You are extraordinary, and I pray that you never forget that.
To my best friends: You stuck it out with me. You have loved me when I was hardest to love and have celebrated with me when life was good. You stayed by my side through tears and laughter and hard decisions and funny moments we'll never forget. I don't know what I did to deserve you, but I'm glad I did it.
To the people I met along the way: Thank you for the lessons you have taught me. Whether it was to believe in myself or to not take everything so personally, each lesson from you made me better.
To the people who stood in the stands with me: We've cheered our hearts out. We've intimidated the competition beyond compare with nothing but our pure love and fierce loyalty to our school and our team. We will forever bleed purple, and we will forever throw our 'lopes up, and I can't thank you enough for letting me be part of that incredible camaraderie.
To the teachers who made a difference: Finding a teacher whose lessons stick with you is rare, and a teacher who is still invested in your life after so many years is even rarer, and I have had the privilege of both. Each of you has carved a special place in my heart and has shown me that teachers have the power to make all the difference in the world.
To those who will stand with me on graduation day: We have worked for this day for so many years. We have seen great teachers, bad teachers, hard projects, tests that made up 25% of our grade, all-nighters, homecomings, basketball games, and so many things in between, and we're finally here: the finish line. We made it here, and that's something no one can take away from us. In the wise words of Taylor Swift, "We are the Kings and the Queens. You traded your baseball cap for a crown. When they gave us our trophies, and we held them up for our town." This is our day, so breathe it in and make the most of it. Congratulations, class of 2017, we did it!!