A Graduation Speech For College Graduates

A Graduation Speech For College Graduates

College graduation is nigh upon all of you.
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After three years of college, I am now graduating and taking my first baby steps into the big, wide world of real life. The real world now beckons, and I am ready to put my acquired knowledge and skills to the test. Generally, college graduation is a time of mixed feelings: a feeling of uncertainty, a feeling of joy, a feeling of sadness, a feeling of pressure. Many college graduates are still planning their next step in life and also how to pay off that student loan debt they acquired. They are also trying to figure out how to adjust to life after college: how to deal with starting a career, how to pay bills and how to meet new friends. While the feeling of graduation is certainly nice, graduates still have to deal with the everyday realities and concerns of the real world, and they have severe doubts about whether or not they are ready to take on the necessary responsibilities.

I understand these concerns; I too am thinking about them right now. Having a full-time job and being out there on your own is radically different from school, and school is what most of us have been doing for years now. We’re used to teachers, classes, homework, studying and tests; these concepts have been a part of our daily routine since we were 5 or 6. And the strict daily routine that comes with most jobs is a concept utterly alien to most of us. We’ve spent the past several years having unstructured daily routines; we have freedom in staying up as long as we want and setting the hours in which we work. While we have classes to go to, these have been scattered throughout the day and there are large blocks of free time left over. In the real world, this scenario no longer exists, often to the frustration of many college graduates.

And for many people, college is a time of learning and exploration. College offers the chance to learn so much about a field one is passionate about, a field that motivates and gets your attention. Colleges are filled with people who make a living teaching and researching in their field of interest. Colleges are hubs of intellectual thinking and groundbreaking research; they offer so many opportunities for growth and development. On top of that, there are countless extracurriculars for people to engage in and to connect with others through. College is often considered the perfect time to live and explore. It's a chance to find out who you are, all for an oftentimes hefty amount of tuition and fees of course.

In reality, college isn’t perfect. Not every college student is mature and enlightened; not every professor likes to spend their time teaching undergrads. Not every college course is a fountain of learning and intellectual joy; many are often completely unrelated to your major. Not every college is a paradise of fun and partying; many colleges are tough and have very rigorous academics. Not every party is wild and crazy; not every college student lives an idyllic life of academics and fun. Many students struggle with a strenuous workload and a part-time job on the side to survive; the combination of multiple responsibilities and the pressures of the environment can lead to persistent stress and depression. Coupled with the rising costs of tuition and other fees, college can also be a hefty financial burden for students and their families; a lot of students carry tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. In short, college is often not the amazing four years that our society makes it out to be.

In my personal experience, I was a lot happier and less stressed out in high school than at Tech. I had more confidence in myself and my abilities; I also had a stronger desire to learn and succeed. Not only that, I also was more productive and more successful in the more structured high school environment. Despite this, I realize my experience at Tech made me a lot more mature and gave me a good grounding in computer science. I also met a lot of interesting and great people, who made me a better person and taught me a lot. Despite all that, I am looking forward to the real world, to tackling the next phase of my life. I understand your concerns and anxieties; I want you all to understand that college is merely a phase of life, an ultimately short one in the grand scheme of things. Life does not go downhill or end after college; there are still going to be parties, clubs, courses, video games, LAN parties, concerts, conventions, and Pokemon GO! There is still a thing called a social life; people still go out on dates and have fun out there. Think about it; the average person has 50-60 years of life after graduating college. There is so much more to life than just college; college is ultimately just like high school since its an institution with its own conventions and rules and quirks.

For those who worry about having less freedom, there is financial freedom out there in the real world. Making your own money, your own living gives you a level of freedom that you simply don’t have in college. You can buy more things and have a wider variety of places to live and things to do. You are no longer reliant on either your parents or a couple of part-time jobs for money. You have access to better food and living conditions, better restaurants to eat out at and computers to game on. Managing money can be very difficult at first, but like any other skill it gets better with practice. And once you master it, you will be much happier because you’ll have a better quality of life and more opportunities to do what you want to do, not just the theoretical ability to do it. And for those who adore the intellectual side of college, there’s always grad school. In there, you’ll get to fully immerse yourself in your passion and do groundbreaking research in that field. And once you get a PhD, you can continue doing your academic work full-time and make a living out of it as a professor. How awesome is that!

So, college graduates, have no reason to despair. College is merely a phase of life, one that trained you to become proficient in a certain field. One that made you find yourself and become a better person. One that made you more mature and appreciative of the diversity of the great world we live in. One where you met amazing people whom have become lifelong friends and partners in life. Now it’s time to go out there and kick some butt! Make your friends, your family, and your alma mater proud!

Cover Image Credit: College graduates awaiting their fate

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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To My Boyfriend, As He Prepares To Graduate College

Good luck in the "real world," you can do it!

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Five weeks, excluding finals and that's it. No more classes, first-day icebreakers, Pub Wednesdays, or game days at the Pepsi Ice Skating Rink. You. Are. Done. Crazy right?

In just a blink of an eye, your four years here at Illinois State University have flown by. It's heartbreaking because I know how much you love being here with your friends, enjoying every minute of living your best life, and not worrying about "adult" responsibilities. I can see how hard it is for you to fully accept that these next couple of weeks are your last weeks here.

You look at me with those eyes every time I mention how close the graduation date is, but I can't help but express my excitement and how proud I am even though I know for a fact that my senior year won't be the same without you here. Questions like who would I grab Panda Express on a weekly basis with? What about Sunday grocery trips? Or simply calling you and having you right at my door in a matter of minutes.

It's sure going to be different not only for me but the guys too. Why? Well, there's going to be no one to make random noises or say random things. All I can say is, you have made strong friendships with people you consider your lifelong friends — ones you'll stay in contact with until the end of time. It's amazing how much of an impact you have made on your friends, peers, and me. Everyone has so many nice things to say about you. I know you're smiling and shaking your head right now, but I have videos to prove it! Thanks to your family for creating and influencing that amazing heart of yours. They really did raise such an amazing person.

I am truly lucky to witness the good times and bad times with you these past two years. Those experiences have made you who you are today. From partying every weekend to getting your grades up to becoming captain of the hockey team, then struggling to find internships, to finding one, and finally in a couple of weeks...stepping into that stadium and on that stage to receive your diploma. I have so much much faith that you'll be nothing but successful, however, YOU have to believe in yourself as well.

In just weeks, you'll be considered an alumnus. Don't be sad, be happy about all of the memories you hold in your heart — all the friendships you've made, all the games you've led and won. I'll be waving, cheering, and, most likely, crying from the stands as you walk and receive your diploma. Be proud and walk with pride.

Here's to a great four years — the end of chapter 16 and the start of a new one.

Congratulations, baby, you did it!

P.S. Don't forget to come back and visit me and the guys!

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