This is part of The Blogging Gauntlet of May 2016, where I try to write 500 words every day. See the May 1st post for full details.
I graduated from college today.
It’s not my usual style, but on today of all days, I’m going to try something different.
Today is our last day as undergraduates of this university.
We’ve faced plenty of lasts this semester. The last midterm. The last final. The last time we had to dodge flyers on Sproul.
But this last is different from the rest. It’s been a long time coming, and yet for many of us it felt like it came too soon. As the days passed inexorably by, we realized, perhaps for the first time, that time was running short, and soon we would be walking different paths.
Our graduation is a symbol of everything we went through these past four years. It serves as a capstone of not just our academic achievements, but of our personal ones. Everything has been building towards this moment, and that gives graduation a weight that few moments can ever match.
We’ll remember it in different ways. Some will remember where they met the one. Others will remember the day their paper was accepted for publication. Or, there may be more tragic memories. The day we realized we were drowning in material, barely staying afloat despite studying day and night. The day we decided it was for the best if we stopped seeing each other. After spending years living and breathing college, it’s impossible to leave without one special memory.
There will be other last days, and they won’t all be pretty. It may be the last day of our job. Or, the last day we ever talked to a close friend. It’s part of life, that all things come to an end, and let me just say that it’s going to suck. (Although for the record, I hope your last last day never comes to pass. And that if you knew someone who had their last last day, I’m sorry.)
However, just as today is a day of lasts, today is also a day of firsts. Over the past four years, we’ve taken great strides to becoming the people we’ve always wanted to be. Like chickens, we incubated inside our little eggs, bouncing from class to class. We laughed at the worries we had in high school, sobbed when we were thrown more than we could handle, and did both when we climbed out of the hole we had fallen into.
Whether we want to or not, we must hatch from our shells, pierce the veil, and enter the real world. It’s like I said before. All things come to an end, and college is no exception.
And you know what?
We’re going to be the best goddamn people the world has ever seen.
We’ll keep walking down the road we lay for ourselves, brick by brick. We’ll keep living, and keep learning. We may not be in college anymore, but in our hearts we’ll always be students.
Together, we’ve grown into the people who will take the world by storm. After we’ve made our mark, the world will never be the same.
Tomorrow is our next first day. The Sun will shine down on a wild, unfriendly world. And we’ll look out on that vast landscape, baring our heads up high. Together, we march unflinchingly into the next page of our story.
I have no idea what it’ll look like, but it’ll be interesting. It’ll be beyond our craziest dreams. And I can’t wait to see what we’ll do.
This borrows themes and phrasings from Greg Burnham’s speech at Mathcamp 2010, Sheryl Sandberg’s speech from today, and writers of inspirational speeches the world over. Thank you, to all of them.
Oh, and I promise to be less preachy tomorrow.