An Open Letter, As You All Graduate

An Open Letter, As You All Graduate

Please don't leave just yet!
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When I came to college, I was looking to join a sorority that I would find a number of individuals who had the same beliefs and values as me. A group of people who were steadfast in their various endeavors and those who were always down for a good time.

I made friends with the girls in my pledge class, as well as friends in the pledge class above me — but I was always a little scared to talk to the girls in the senior class. They were taking hard classes, involved in numerous clubs and organizations on campus and just had their lives together in general. They were leaders in our chapter, and leaders throughout our campus community that inspired me to get involved within our sorority and beyond.

Sophomore year came, and I moved into an apartment complex, got involved on campus, and became a leader in my chapter. All of these new changes in my life were beginning to add up to become the individual that I had always wanted to be. I slowly became friends with several members of the senior class, because they too, were once in my shoes and they knew firsthand just how difficult life could be.

This group of girls who I once looked to as exceptional leaders within our campus community, became some of my closest friends. They are always there for me when I need advice or someone to talk to. They are there for me when I need to ask questions about anything and everything. They come over and hang out with my roommate and me, and we are always welcomed in their homes.

I have grown to love this group of ladies, and I can’t say that I will not be sad when they walk across the Cistern to receive the undergraduate diploma that they worked so diligently for.

Although our friendship has only been established for several months now, I feel as if I have known you forever. You have inspired me, loved me, listened to me, hugged me, and been there for me when I needed it the most. Thank you for making an impact on my life, even if you didn’t realize it.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication — not only to our chapter but also around our college community.

Thank you for always being down for a good time, and for making me have fun – even when I don’t want to! Thank you for supporting me, even when it seemed as if, you were the only person in the room — that heard me out. Last but not least, thank you for being you!! I am so incredibly proud of each of you, and I know that you will move on to become the best professional women that you can be!

If nothing else, know that you made an impact on my life and I will never forget how you made me feel, even in my toughest moments of college thus far!

Much love,

LF

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Fowler

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An Open Letter To Those Not Graduating On Time

Graduating college in any number of years is an accomplishment to be proud of.
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To the person that isn't graduating on time,

It sucks, and I won't lie to you and tell you it doesn't. The day you walk out of Advising, head hanging down because you aren't going to finish in four years, makes you feel ashamed of yourself. You did well in high school; you were always told you were smart, expected to be smart, so why couldn't you make it out in four years like you were supposed to?

You know you're going to have to tell your family, so you begin preparing yourself for the worst reactions possible. And telling your friends you won't be graduating with them will only add to that sense of hopelessness.

Soon, you'll see photos and posts from people you left high school with, talking about graduation and the wonderful lives they are about to begin in their new careers. You'll wonder how they did it, and you'll feel like a failure.

But you're not.

Graduating from college is a huge deal. It really is. And it will be no less of an accomplishment in five, six, or 10 years.

"According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60 percent of students graduate in six years. At public schools, less than a third of students graduate on time."

Things happen. You might change your major. You might have financial troubles. You may take a year off to figure out exactly what you want to do. That's okay. Take all the time you need. The real world and your career will still be there whenever you graduate.

Guess what else. Your family will still love you, and your friends will still support you. Give them some credit. Your loved ones want you to be happy and successful. Don't get me wrong, they may be upset at first, but give them a chance. Odds are, when the emotions settle, they will go right back to asking how classes are going. And when you do get the news that you'll be graduating, they will celebrate with you, and they will be there in the crowd, waiting for you to walk across that stage.

Graduation will happen. If you attend your class and study hard, it will happen. There is no reason to rush. Just do your best. Try your hardest. Take classes when you can. Just by doing that, you're doing more than so many others are able to do.

"Among 18 countries tracked by the OECD, the United States finished last (46 percent) for the percentage of students who completed college once they started it."

You'll get there. Take your time. Enjoy your classes. Find new interests. Study what you love. Embrace opportunities. Study abroad. Take that weird elective class. This is your time to take in everything the world has to offer. Take advantage of that. You'll graduate when you graduate, filled with pride and wisdom. And when they call your name, and you walk across that stage, hold your head up high, because you've earned every bit of your degree.

Graduating from college takes countless hours of studying, long hours in the library, and a tremendous amount of dedication. Don't add pressure to yourself by setting a timer. It is completely okay to graduate when you graduate, and it is still something to be proud of.

Best Wishes,
A woman who is finally graduating

Cover Image Credit: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/120417041415-education-graduation-cap-story-top.jpg

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You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To

I am finishing the last week of my bachelor's degree and I couldn't be more proud of myself.

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I am now in the last week of my bachelor's degree. It feels surreal saying that. For four years I have been doing school full time. It has been a normal part of my life, so it's crazy to say my degree is coming to an end. On the one hand, I am so excited to graduate and have a break; finally; it has been almost nonstop school these four years with the longest break being two weeks. I look forward to having nothing to do, no assignments, or deadlines, or grades for a few months.

I'm also proud of myself for accomplishing something I initially never dreamed I would. After high school I wasn't sure about getting a degree and if I did what I would get that degree in. I also doubted my ability as a writer. My first semester in college I didn't know how to cite sources. I wasn't even sure how to go about dividing paragraphs or how to properly use commas. I had never written fiction or poetry and didn't think I ever could since it didn't seem like something that came naturally.

Well, I can confidently say now that I did all those things and more. I learned how to cite sources in multiple methods, and now it's like second nature. When starting my degree, I only wrote nonfiction, but I decided to challenge myself, to try fiction just to see if I could do it. I ended up doing a second concentration in fiction and writing 50 pages of a novel and a complete short story. Then I did a poetry class and wrote eight poems. Something I was convinced I could never do. But I did it; I did all of it and more.

Even more than the degree, the title of having a bachelor's, I'm just so happy to have challenged myself and did things I never thought I could. College is about seeing how strong we really are and all that we can accomplish. Going forward, I am confident in myself as a writer and confident to keep challenging myself and doing what I didn't think I could.

My learning does not end here. It's just the beginning. Better equipped now, I feel like I can learn and do anything I set my mind to, and this brings me back to the words my violin teacher gave me while I was still in high school. I had been committed to practicing violin every day, and she said, "Corrinne, you can do anything you set your mind to." And I have never forgotten those words. They still repeat in mind every time I challenge myself, cheering me on. And now, more than ever, I know those words are true. I can do anything I set my mind to and so can you. So, in this season of graduations and new life may you challenge yourself, believe in yourself, and do what you never knew you could. I promise you won't regret it. Good luck and congratulations!

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