Monday, May 25, 2015

To the class of 2015

When I walked a cute, brown-eyed, redheaded little girl into kindergarten on her first day of school, it seemed like the year 2015 was light years away. Little did I realize how quickly time would pass.
In just four short days, that not-so-little anymore redheaded girl will walk across the stage and receive her diploma. Her and the rest of her classmates will close a chapter of their lives and begin a new one. A chapter full of firsts, excitement, fear, and anticipation. A chapter they are completely in charge of and one that will be full of memories for a lifetime.
   I've thought about what I would say if I could stand before her class and tell them what I've learned in the "24ish" years since I was their age. This, is my advice to the Class of 2015....

   Dear Class of 2015,

   The moment you've been thinking about since the day you entered high school as a nervous freshman is finally upon you. You've spent four years preparing for this day and I have no doubt you are ready. As you don your cap and gown, soak in every single moment. This day is all about you. As you get older, you will see not many days are "all about you" so enjoy it!
   Some of you will head off to college, some will go to work and some have made the decision to defend our country. As you venture out into the world, here is some food for thought:

   1. The decisions you make about your future are not set in stone. Don't be afraid to change your mind or your plans. After all, it is your future and you are in charge!
   2. After you graduate, take time to write (not type) a letter to that one teacher who shaped your life when you were in school. It could be your kindergarten teacher or that coach who pushed you beyond what you believed you could do.A simple "thank you" will mean the world to them.
   3. Hold strong to your beliefs. College is full of professors who will try and convince you God does not exist. Their job is to educate you on the subject they teach. Your job is to learn. Don't allow them to sway you or question your beliefs.
   4. Embrace new friends, but never lose touch with old friends.Sometimes talking to an old friend when you are away from home is the best cure for being homesick.
   5. Call your parents. Write your parents. Let them know you are okay! Even a random text during the day will make them smile.
   6. If you don't write in a journal, now is a great time to begin! Write something in it every single day. Even if it's just one sentence. Look back through your entries and you will see how much you've grown over a year.
   7. Listen to the name it! Except rap...well, maybe just 80's rap. :) Music is food for the soul. Listening to as many different genres as possible will expand your horizons.
   8. Make a bucket list. Put it somewhere you will see it from time to time. Pledge to mark something off the list before the end of your first year out on your own.
   9. Volunteer your time helping others. Giving your time is something that doesn't cost you a single penny, but the rewards you reap from serving others are priceless.
 10. Learn something new. Learn how to play the piano, guitar, banjo, sing, tap, are never too old to learn!

And finally, always remember your hometown and all the people who helped you become who you are today. Some of you will come back home to raise your family. Some of you will only come back for a visit. Remember your roots and where your story began and enjoy the journey ahead of you.