Off The Graduation Stage And Into The World
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Off The Graduation Stage And Into The World

Flipping the page with humble hands.

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Off The Graduation Stage And Into The World
Samoan Studies

In the most literal way, with no abstract metaphorical twist, in less than three weeks I will be walking off a stage and into the real world. I will be handed a university diploma that encapsulates the past chapter of my life, and headed full steam into the next. As a kid, I couldn’t wait to be “older.” I couldn’t wait to be 16 with my driver’s license,19 with a legal beer in my hand, and 21, racing to graduate with the freedom to roam the world. But as I apply for my tickets, order the correct size for my cap and gown, I am starting to pump the breaks, for a lack of a better phrase.

Speeding into this date, I am doing everything I can to stop and enjoy this time before it all comes to an end. The closer the date approaches, the more I reflect on what the last four years has brought me. College has broadened my horizon with incredible experiences, and opened my heart to so many people. Through this reflection, I realized that the past 21-years of my existence I have been longing for this freedom. No more confinement within classroom walls and the time to do whatever my heart desires. But now that the moment has almost arrived, I realize that school has given me the opportunity to explore my educational passions and the classroom has allowed me to connect with incredible teachers and fellow students who have become dear friends of mine.

Like anything we crave for a long duration of time, sometimes when we finally get what we want, it’s not everything that we expected it to be. While I am excited beyond words to take advantage of travel opportunities and pursue a career, I am taken back by how quickly this moment has crept up on me. It’s hypocritical for me to say, “it feels like yesterday that I was sitting in freshman orientation,” because I roll my eyes every time my parents reminisce about it feeling, “like yesterday that you took your first steps.”

This is always preceded with the statement, “stop and smell the roses,” which I am doing more than ever right now. As all good things eventually come to an end, I truly am saddened by this one in particular. It takes an ending, a tragedy, a loss and sometimes a split second only to realize that something is gone- and that you were incredibly lucky to have it in the first place.

In the blink of an eye, I went from being a college freshman sitting in orientation questioning if I was even going to make it through. I didn’t know what this time would bring and couldn’t quite wrap my head around being in a different country than my family and friends. But as we all do, I dove head first, and haven’t looked back since. I have created memories that go beyond words, friends that will last a lifetime and despite the times of life’s torrential downpours, I’ve danced in the rain the whole way though. I was told countless times beforehand that college would be the best 4-years of my life, but I think my experience surpassed that in more ways that I can count.

So when I put on that gown and cap and accept my diploma, I will do so with a humble heart and a smile on my face. I will look into the audience and see the people I love most and know that this experience has brought me happiness, challenge, but mostly and above all, the greatest fulfillment. I will look back at my college career and realize that it shaped me for the better, and taught me lessons that only few of us are lucky to learn.

I have acquired skills that I can take with me on all future endeavors and people who will always hold a special place in my heart. I have learned that no challenge is too great, that distance does not decide the strength of a bond, that authenticity comes in many forms and that if you can enjoy the ride, your journey will give you nothing but incredible memories to look back on and someday reminisce about.

Be grateful for those who make you smile, the experiences that make you better, the obstacles that teach you, the challenges that make you stronger, for those will be the things that make any experience, and life as a whole, worthwhile.


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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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