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It’s amazing how it seems four years of your life turn into two ceremonies, a party and one piece of paper.

Is this what it really means to graduate?

No. Graduation means so much more. It means that you endured four years of classes, papers, exams and presentations. It means you survived late nights, early mornings, parties, fights, friendships, losing friendships, relationships. But most importantly, graduation means you accomplished an incredible feat.

Now, I may be speaking just for myself here, but I’ve grown so much in the past four years. I have learned who in my life is a true friend and who is not. I have eliminated unhealthy relationships. I have established personal standards when it comes to developing new, healthy relationships. I have grown more confident in everything I do. I have strengthened my work ethic. I have learned what it feels like to be in a high leadership role. I have gained experience dealing with all kinds of people. These past for years do not just culminate in one little piece of paper to me.

The friendships I have made in college will outlast time. At several of the graduation barbeques I attended this past weekend, the ambiance was not as celebratory as I had expected. Most of these friends were sad to be leaving this stage in their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I cried too. But I can honestly say I have never received so many bear hugs in one weekend.

Yes, the world is changing around us graduates. Yes, we are thrown out into the “real world” (whatever that is) now. But we will always have each other. No matter where we are scattered around the United States and abroad, we will always have each other and the memories we made.

The knowledge I have gained from my classes will help me in the workforce. I’ll be honest; some of the classes I took were a total waste of time. But the ones that weren’t made up for it. My professor, Jan Whitt, opened my eyes to Women and Popular Culture. Trager, of course, taught me the ins and outs of First Amendment Law. And Amy Herdy, well, Amy taught me more than I can put into words.

I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to go to college.

Now it’s time to take my life into my own hands and turn my dreams into realities. I know it sounds cliché, but I wholeheartedly believe that anything is possible. I am young. I am able. And I am more than willing to reach for the stars.

I had the privilege of going to college, and I chose to succeed

No matter what the “rate of unemployment” is, I will find a great job. As Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

So, I’ll build my own door, and then I’ll come-a-knockin’.


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