An Open Letter To The Graduating Class Of 2020

Dear Graduate, 

Your time is finally here, you did it! You made it through. 

You survived the endless group projects. 

You walked the hallways and sidewalks of your school’s campus for years, and now you’re walking them for the final time. 

You created new relationships. 

You slacked off at times and worked hard at other times. 

The hours you clocked doing homework, staying up late studying for tests, and re-watching powerpoints have finally paid off. 

You are applauded for your dedication to your education. 

You are inspiring others to push on to graduation as well! 

You are our future. 

Our future doctors, electricians, lawyers, agriculture scientists, professors, journalists, and more. 

And now you’re about to embark on a journey none of us have had to go through before. You are pioneering a way for us all, stepping into the unknown.

Because of the Coronavirus shutdowns, many of you aren’t finishing your schooling in a traditional way, and your graduation ceremonies have been canceled. You are packing up, heading home, and resorting to a completely online platform to finish.

There won’t be a day for you to zip up your graduation gown or put on your cap, which is absolutely heartbreaking and scary for most. It seems unfair, and it truly is. But please know this- Just because you were robbed of your opportunity to walk at graduation does not make you less.

It absolutely does not mean you are any less of a student or graduate.

It does not mean you didn’t work incredibly hard.

It does not take away those endless nights of studying or editing papers.

It’s hard to go through something so big in your life and not have the proper recognition for it.

It’s scary to be the first, and maybe only, that has to go through this unique situation.

Here’s your recognition, while not sufficient, please know that we recognize you and applaud you. We see the hard work you’ve gone through and the time you’ve put in. We see the hurt you have for not being able to walk at graduation.

You pushed through the hard times and made it here today. 

We are proud to call you our future.

Congratulations graduating class of 2020!

Tips For Graduating College Students

College graduation has recently come for many students and is still in anticipation of other seniors with graduation in the spring. This time of life can come with a mixture of emotions- excitement that college lectures are a thing of the past, worries for future plans, or fear of the unknown. I have asked trusted friends, family, and colleagues their best advice for graduating college students and have come up with this collective list of important things to remember during this big change in your life. 

  1. Stop stressing about a job. The most typical response by far was to stop stressing about jobs and career paths after graduation. There are a vast amount of options each major in school can lead you. Jobs will open up and work out, while others that seem perfect may slip through your fingertips. Important things to remember while job searching after graduation:
  2. The perfect job rarely exists. Which is okay because it leads to my next point.
  3. You most likely will not be in this job for a lifetime. Gone are the days where you choose a career path and stick with the same occupation until retirement. Typically, people spend 3-5 years in the same job before getting promoted or finding a new job. If you don’t find the perfect job, it’s okay because it will likely change. 
  4. Finding an entry-level job right after graduation doesn’t always happen, and that’s okay. Keep searching and putting in the effort, don’t let the pressure of a graduation date stress you out about a job. You’re young, take time to explore, travel, or even find experience in your field to land a great job later in life. 
  5. You can choose to be passionate about whatever job you end up in. Take it from my husband, who grew up on a farm surrounded by cows, horses, and corn. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration and landed his first job managing a warehouse in a rental company for wedding supplies. If a farm boy from Utah can have a full conversation about chivari chairs and 90” round ivory tablecloths one day and then be sad the next day when he says goodbye to the company while he changes his career back to his roots in an agriculture-based company, anyone can be passionate about anything. 
  6. The years went faster than you thought they would. College graduation is already here? How did four (or three, or five) years go by so fast? They really do happen in a blink of an eye. 

Studying a subject that brings excitement into your life at a university can be so rewarding. You’ve spent hours and days in classrooms, taking notes, studying flashcards, cramming for tests, and collaborating with peers. Finally, it’s your day to shine and be recognized by many for the accomplishment you’ve made. If I were to leave one last tip, it would be this: walk at your graduation ceremony. Take the day to wear the cap and gown, show off your school’s tassel, and pose for every picture your family and friends want to take. You just dedicated four years of your life to studying and passing classes, you deserve this day. Congratulations, graduate! 

4 Perfect Happy Graduation Songs

With each rising generation of high school graduates comes new songs that define the high school experience. While nostalgia is a definitely a prevalent reason to have graduation ceremonies, it’s also about celebrating the future! For those of you agreeing that graduation songs should be a celebration, not a mourning, here are a few suggestions:

1. Hall of Fame by The Script

2. Firework by Katy Perry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3P9fyJEu6E

3. Here’s To Never Growing Up by Avril Lavigne

4. Brave by Sara Bareilles

Featured Image: Leeds College of Music

What To Bring On Graduation Day

Graduation season is a busy time of year! Everyone has so much to remember, especially the graduates. Here to make life a little easier, we’ve created a must-have list for what you need for the big day! Schools will have their own rules, too, so be sure to find that information from a counselor or graduation representative.

Before You Arrive:
  • Hydrate & Eat! It’s so important to remember to keep yourself well-fed and hydrated. It seems simple, but it’s easy to forget amid graduation pictures and parties. The key is to drink 16 oz or so a couple hours before the ceremony, but you should be keeping hydrated at all times. Stop drinking an hour before the ceremony to prevent having to go to the bathroom during it. The last thing you want is to be the one that fainted at graduation.
  • Apply sunscreen if the ceremony has an outdoor portion. Even if it won’t be that sunny, you can still get sunburned.
  • Charge batteries. Phone, camera, mom’s camera–teach mom how to use the camera if she doesn’t know already! You don’t want anything to get in the way of the memories.
  • Be hygienic. Remember that you will be in close proximity with people, so don’t forget the deodorant.
  • Go to the Bathroom: go right before you leave! Chances are you’re going to be nervous, so try to go as often as you can before you have to be in your spot for the ceremony.
Bring to the Ceremony:
  • Cap/Gown/Honors Regalia. Make sure you don’t forget the most important part! If your school doesn’t supply you with these, make sure to purchase them well in advance. Find out things like if the tassels are supposed to be plain, or include the graduation year. If your organization is doing honor cords, be sure to get the right color. Encourage everyone to purchase from the same place to ensure continuity. Honors Graduation provides these for schools, organizations and students.
  • Semi-formal comfortable clothes: you don’t want jeans and a t-shirt, but you also don’t want a 3-piece suit or evening gown. A happy medium is slacks and a button up, or a summer dress. Schools may have their own specifications, but this usually is the standard. I would recommend girls wearing something with pockets, for reasons further down the list.
  • Comfortable shoes: you’ll be walking and standing for pictures, so be sure to wear practical shoes.
  • Tide To-Go Pen. Need I remind you that besides a wedding day, this might be one of the most photographed events of your life?
  • Gum. This might seem odd, but it’s especially helpful if you’re way down the list as far as the order for crossing the stage. If you get strong, minty gum, it will help keep you awake and the peppermint will help with nerves. Just make sure to spit it out before walking up to receive your diploma! That brings us to the next point:
  • Everything must fit in your pockets. Chapstick, extra bobby pins, tissue pack, etc. Bringing purses or book bags is generally frowned upon. Sometimes you don’t go back to the same seat after receiving your diploma and you don’t want anything to get lost. Have your family carry anything you might want for later. Cell phones should stay untouched in the pocket until after the ceremony to locate your family/friends. Having it on and out during the ceremony is not respectful to the other graduates.

 

Good luck, and congratulations on this milestone achievement!

Featured Image: Sarah Starkweather