Dear Mom and Dad,

It's been a long journey, but the day we have collectively dreamed about is finally here. From the very beginning, you both encouraged me to follow my heart. You supported this dream of mine and while many worried about the career opportunities I would have down the road, you guy's never worried. I can't thank you enough for believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself. Not many kids are fortunate enough to have parents that support and believe in their dreams.

It feels like just yesterday you were moving me into the dorms. I remember thinking college would never end and there was no way I would get over the homesickness. After many phone calls home, you guys convinced me that this scared feeling would pass and I would soon find my way. As time went on, there were fewer phone calls home filled with tears. I found friends, I got a job, and I got involved. Again, you guys were always there to give me a little nudge to put myself out there and to have fun. It paid off and if you hadn't encouraged me, I wouldn't have met the friends I am now having to say goodbye too.

Thank you for weathering every tear-filled phone call, threats to drop out, and stress-induced sassy comments with such grace. After surviving 6 finals weeks at college, I know you guys are just as happy they are officially over as much as I am. While many people have congratulated me for my efforts in college, it was a collective effort between the three of us. This degree I am receiving is just as much yours as it is mine because you helped me achieve it.

Thank you for giving me the gift of an education. From the bottom of my heart, I can't thank you enough for the gift that is being debt free after graduation. I know you both had to sacrifice and save a lot for me to be able to do this, so please know it does not go unrecognized. You could have spent it on yourselves but you decided to invest in my future. Since you decided to do this, I will have more doors open to me. I am very blessed and I promise to make you proud of whatever I do in my life and in my career.

We did it! I couldn't ask for better parents and a better support team than you two. It's hard to believe this chapter in our lives is over. I hate to admit you are right when you guys said: "you'll miss this someday". I am afraid of the unknown and the impending adulthood that awaits me on the other side of the stage at graduation, but I know as long as I have you two I will be okay. Please don't worry about me, as I am positive I will find my way. Know that you raised me with a strong independent spirit and because of that I will keep fighting until I get what I want out of this life. I thank God for you two and this experience I have had every day. Thank you for believing in a kid with a dream and helping them achieve it. Here's to my future that is far brighter now because of the lifelong gift you have given me.

Love,

Your Graduate