Dearest Fellow Students,
Technically I am the valedictorian of my school, so I think I am entitled to a little speech. Well, maybe entitled is too strong of a word considering I’m actually home schooled. Nevertheless, I am going to give a speech. I hope it doesn’t bore you to death and sound like literally everything your aunts, cousins, and dogs have been telling you for the past few weeks. I promise to not pinch your cheek and tell you stories about when you were “this tall.”
Graduating from high school does not seem like a big deal to me. I know it is. I know that I should be incredibly excited and just bursting at the seams. But I’m not. I think it may be because I don’t really dislike school. I haven’t had to sit at a desk for seven straight hours a day and I’m not bored by the subjects I learned. I’m an odd duck, I’m aware. But I am very excited about the next step in my life.
For the first time in my life, I am actually seeing all the potential my life has. It’s a bit of a long story, but all of my life I have been focused on one thing or another and I could never really stop long enough to comprehend that I can actually follow all of my interests. I don’t have to settle. I don’t have to do what I said I would do last year. There is every road open to me, and I just have to have the insight and the trust in God to know which one is right for me right now. I don’t have to know about tomorrow or next week or four years from today. There is no way I can know about all of those times. Sometimes I will have to backtrack and sometimes I will have to turn left when I thought I was going to turn right, but overall I am just in awe of how in-control of my life I actually am.
I am in control. I can pursue a doctorate degree or become a mother or enroll in peace corps. I can research what it means to be a nun or how to become a music producer. I know nothing about anything I just listed, but I can find out if I want to. That’s what I mean by control. I am in control of how I spend every second of my life. And you are too. We all have circumstances beyond our control; I’m not trying to disregard all of those. I’m just saying that, above all, there is always a way that we can make our life exactly what we want it to be.
When I look at the next four years I will spend at college, I don’t see school. I see an adventure. The college grads are always saying that it was the best four years of their lives. They wish they could do it over again. They loved every minute of it. But I don’t want to feel that way. Instead of being sad those years are over, I want to top them. I want to know that I spent every minute in classes the way I wanted to spend them. I don’t want to look back at the four years and yearn for them, I want to think about how they were my springboard to send me flying through my life of exploring.
So I have to be brave. I have to be wild and thoughtful and kind. I have to look at who I am and then look at who I want to be in three months. I have to do things I’m terrified of. I have to meet people who intimidate me. I have to learn things. I have to become the woman I already know I am. I’m starting out on this adventure and I don’t intend to let it end in a mere four years.
I am going to stun the world. I am going to come spinning into existence and everyone will have to stop and stare at the magnificent joy that is radiating from me.
So you should do the same. We are graduating! Let’s be done focusing on being something and focus on being ourselves! Let’s run and jump and cart-wheel our way to who we should be. This is our moment. I know, it just feels like another transition into some grown-up life. If we don’t start our lives RIGHT NOW, when will we? Let’s be brave.
Shed the expectations and the preconceived notions. Let’s be exactly who we already are and deal with every single one of the consequences!