To my fellow graduates,

We did it. And not just graduating — we've done so much more. We've done so much just go get to graduation. Most don't realize what goes into graduation on a students end. They know we pay to go to school, take classes, do homework, take finals, get credits, and in a few years we get a degree. But there is so much more to it than that. This is a tribute to the college grad.

To the grad who was a natural

Unsplash

You seemed to have it all together. You came to every class, aced every test, got your homework done on time if not early, and every teacher loved you. You went to all the events, were best friends with your roommates, you had it all and made the most of it. We aspired to be like you — the ideal. While we are not all like you, that doesn't make us any less, and nobody should shame you for who you are. This was how your path went, and there's nothing wrong with that.

To the grad who's more than a grad

Unsplash

You were a mom, dad, husband, wife, parental figure, guardian, you had more than yourself to worry about. While you were going to school, taking tests and getting homework done you were also making sure your partner was taken care of, your kids got to school on time, helping your kids with homework, going to their school events. You did so much while going to school that nobody but your family sees. We know about it, we know it happens, but nobody recognizes it. You deserve praise beyond belief. You are a super human to your family and those around you.

To the grad who worked overtime

Unsplash

You may have a family to support, kids, partners, or maybe it's just yourself. You had to pay for school somehow. While loans can help, they will never be enough and you have to pay them back somehow. You worked, maybe had two or three jobs. You might work on campus, you might work off. Maybe both. Yet somehow on top of work, you went to class, took those tests and did that work too. School is like a job with deadlines, stuff to get done and projects to complete. Yet somehow, you got it all done. Like a boss.

To the grad who lent a helping hand

Unsplash

On top of classes, projects, assignments and tests, you gave up your time to help others. It could be something you've always done, something you found at your school, you dedicated your time on top of family, friends and school to help those in need. You are a blessing to those around you and to those you helped while still getting it all done.

To the grad who struggled

Unsplash

You're the grad everyone makes memes about and relates to. The "ramen every night because I'm broke," "I'm dying," "coffee runs through my veins," "we don't sleep," "what day is it," "we had homework?" kind of grad. The grad everyone jokes about, but a lot of it is true.

You may have changed your major once or twice, maybe more. You may have not had the support system everyone else did. You may have been major shamed by friends, family and peers. You may have had your GPA drop because of one stupid professor. You may have lost someone. You struggled. You fought. You cried. You screamed. You may have sought help, you might not have.

But at the end of the day, you did it. You cried through the final exams. You screamed at your homework. You cursed at systems your teachers want you to use that didn't make sense or wouldn't work. You studied, however much or little. You got on your feet and did the best you could, which is all anyone could and should ask of you. You may have struggled, but you still did it.

To this years grad

You did it!

Your story matters, everyone has a different story of how they got to college and what their journey was through it. Share your story with the world and celebrate your accomplishment. Not everyone goes to college, not everyone who goes completes a degree. You should be proud of your accomplishments and look forward to what you will do in the world.

To next year's grad

Unsplash

You are so close. Your time will come. Keep going and you'll soon be a grad too. Never give up and keep chasing your dreams because you're going to change the world with us.