To the Graduates: Update

Congratulations, Class of 2020! You earned your diploma— or your degree— in the midst of a global pandemic. Your celebrations will look different than those of years’ past, but you deserve every virtual tribute out there.

Four years ago, I wrote a post entitled “To the Graduates” in which I shared with new high school grads what I wish I had known when I stood in their place a year prior. Now, one year after graduating from college, I see graduates inheriting a very different world. With that in mind, I would like to update the advice I gave four years ago. 

Embrace Uncertainty

I remember the exhilarating, terrifying feeling of graduating. My thoughts swung wildly from “the world is my oyster,” to “what on earth do I do now?” You’re in one of the most uncertain times in your life; it’s hard to predict where you’ll be in six months, let alone next year. That’s true now more than ever. But the good news is that God will meet you there.

There’s a sense of loss that comes with the disruption of our traditions. There can also be a sense of loss that comes with a change in plans– things don’t always happen the way we hope. But there is beauty in the rebuilding. The great C.S. Lewis once wrote of God, “He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.” If your house of cards is knocked down, you haven’t failed. You’ve been given an opportunity to build something with God that is more durable and lasting. 

Define Success Differently

Everyone comes out of high school or college hoping for success in the next phase of life. But what does that mean? Examine for a moment your ideas of success. Does it revolve around material things? Have you set a timeline for when you should graduate, buy a house, start a family? 

My advice? Scrap it.

If you define success as sticking perfectly to that plan, you’ll spiral the minute life gets in the way (and it will). Give yourself grace by allowing your path to look different from someone else’s. And most importantly, leave room for the Lord to intervene— man plans his way, but God directs his steps 

Don’t Go it Alone

A big part of the American Dream, it seems, is being ‘self-made.’ We want to achieve success with only ourselves to credit. We’re told from early on to be self-sufficient, do it ourselves when we can. But do you want to know a secret? No one is truly and completely self-made. No one gets where they want to go without a little help.

In this next phase of life, you’ll meet people who have already done what you aspire to do. You’ll meet people with valuable insight into life. Talk to them. Learn from them. Find mentors and welcome constructive criticism. You’ll also find people who just want to be your friend. You’ll need that; we were created to live in community, not isolation. We need people with whom we can share our burdens as we share theirs. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Congratulations again, Class of 2020. Toss your cap in the living room to celebrate this moment. As you look to the next one, know that you are not alone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

A Website.

%d bloggers like this: