The never-ending story of graduation

Dear departing seniors, as the semester draws to a close, so does the year — congratulations, you have done it!
For many of you, the last few years have been the most different and difficult from anything you have ever known. For some of you, college was what you always dreamed it would be. For some it was your parents’ dream; for others it started out as a random venture in place of a “plan” and turned into something you became passionate about. But regardless of your original inclination towards “higher education,” you alone have accomplished what all of us whom you are leaving behind are striving toward; you have graduated, you have finished. Even for those who are going on to achieve their masters or a doctorate, scholastically speaking, you have closed this chapter of your life successfully. You will never have to do it again. Scraping pennies to buy textbooks is a thing of the past. Bravo.
Take just a moment to reflect on all of the things you have overcome in the last few years.
To name a few: You either gained or avoided the freshmen fifteen. You navigated the shuttle system and trudged through slush, scaled snow berms and ingested unhealthy amounts of caffeine to make it through those final shaky days of class. You learned to manage your time effectively (or cram projects last minute) to successfully achieve a passing or exemplary grade. You survived finals over and over and over again. You charted the path of the Snackin’ Wagon and virtually stalked the “free-food” functions. Perhaps you endured a steady diet of Cup Noodles.

You survived picking a major, which to some seemed like a jail sentence. You slept so little that at times that sanity seemed like a bygone state of mind. And you persisted, against all odds, to this moment of success. Congratulations for making it through a system that is by no means a “walk in the park” — you have succeeded. You should be so proud.
As graduation draws near, dwell on this for just a moment: the first four letters of the alphabet no longer control your future, your life, everything you do. You are walking out of an era of focused study and into life, unrestricted. That piece of paper that says “This document is to certify that (insert name) has satisfactorily completed …” is finally in your possession. You did good, kid.
Our generation is graduating into a world amidst a second financial depression, so in some ways, into a disadvantaged situation. But necessity is the mother of ingenuity. Be free! Go change the world. It isn’t as huge and difficult as it sounds. You have already accomplished so much; don’t stop now.