A Pep Talk For Graduating Seniors, From A College Sophomore
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A Pep Talk For Graduating Seniors, From A College Sophomore

Because I was feeling retrospective, I thought someone might need to hear some part of it.

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Laura Martel

I read my graduation speech from high school, and here's my updated version:

You are stronger than you think. You will survive every single unthinkable thing until the very last. Life is going to be difficult, but this is the part where you find out who you are. When we look back at our lives, we will see that none of it was random. Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it. The real world does not begin when you can legally drive, when you walk across this stage, when you have your first legal drink, or when you start your first "real" job. You have been in the real world your entire life. Free yourself from your past mistakes by forgiving yourself for what you've done or gone through.

Every day is another chance to start over. Biologically speaking, in 7 years' time your body will be made of completely different cells than you are today, so do not let your past or your fear of future failures limit you. In living you will get hurt, you will hurt others, and you will hurt yourself. But that's okay. Love, friendship, experiences, and ideas can all hurt us, but they hurt because they matter.

I've learned that no matter what happens if today is the worst day then tomorrow will be better.

I've learned that some of the things we fear most in life wind up becoming our biggest successes. Take a class even though you know nothing about the subject matter. Take yourself out to a movie once in a while, or go out to eat at that new restaurant by yourself. Open up to someone you just met. Trust someone new even after you have been irreparably broken. Be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.

I hope you do one thing every day that terrifies you, and I hope that you stub your toe on life more times than you can count. The world is going to judge you no matter what you do, so lead your life for you - not your parents, not your grandma, not your best friend, not your coach. No one else has to face your reflection the way you do. Live your life so that you become the person you needed when you were younger.

Being happy is a very personal thing that has nothing to do with anyone else. Keep your sense of humor alive and well, even if it means laughing at yourself. Things that you think are huge deals now, really will not matter in a week or a month or a year.

Honesty is everything. Be honest with those around you about what you need and want, absolutely. But first, be honest with yourself. Pushing yourself beyond your limits only leaves you exhausted in the end. Ignoring parts of yourself because they are less desirable only hurts you. You deserve to be loved wholly, by yourself and others, and the first step towards this end goal is honesty.

John Green puts it best: "You are helpful, and you are loved, and you are forgiven, and you are not alone." Do not dwell on the past and fail to enjoy today and everything that is to come but do not forget where you came from either. Never will there be a time there is no one you can go to, for every single thing you experience is part of the human experience. No matter how unique you are, take comfort in the fact that you just aren't possibly that unique to have a brand new problem, situation, etc. Reach out when you need it, or you will only hold yourself back. I believe in you. You have been given so much to get you started, now it is your turn to decide where you go from here.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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