Today the local seniors had the opportunity to walk through the halls of the elementary school. What a charming way for the seniors to look back on their beginnings while the youngsters form impressions of poised high schoolers. It has me reflecting on graduation, that edge-of-the-diving-board moment before our youth jump into “real life.”
I’ve also been reflecting on the opportunities I’ve had to speak at my high school and college graduations and what I would say if I could do it all over again.
In both instances, I targeted my speech towards bolstering self-confidence, feeling that I was battling a mix of millennial apathy, small-town feelings of insignificance (in the case of my 27-student graduating class), and insecurity about the job market (in the case of my college graduation, which fell during the recession).
Those speeches have been special moments to bookend my education, and in both instances as much as I was aiming to motivate my classmates, I was also fighting against my own insecurity in my life’s path. Graduation can be inspiring, but it can also be terrifying, the idea that this is the moment in which you must choose the path for The. Rest. Of. Your. Life. …Shit.
If I could do it all over again, I’d have three messages to pass along to them (and myself):