By Dallas Freeman

To all graduates!!!

It’s coming time for you to move out, to live on your own, and to begin to experience life without parents around.

The first tip I can give you is to remember that first time you dove off of a diving board, or the first time you drove a car, or even the first time you stepped into a new school. Remember that nervousness, that almost tangible excitement? Remember how important it was to make that first impression just right? When you did that, you took a leap of faith, you dove in, you hit the gas, and you stepped in the door. You trusted yourself to be able to succeed. There were ups and downs as you continued to be there; sometimes you belly flop, sometimes you didn’t feel like you could drive to save your life, and some days in high school you honestly felt like everything had turned out of your favor. College is just like that. There will be ups; there will be downs. Remind yourself daily that it was important that you be there, and that that is what you chose to do. You chose because you wanted this life, ups and downs, and that is perfect.

The second tip I can give is to toss your hat over the fence. It’s easy to live your life comfortably, taking almost no risks and being happy not chasing what you truly want. It’s easy to say, “ I’ll get it when I’m older,” or “I’m too young to do things this big now.” Adults say things like that. Adults say that. Your parents, your uncles, your teachers, your best friend’s mom and dad—they all say that too. That never, ever, ever goes away. There are going to be challenges. Still, though, if you’re willing to toss your hat over the fence, you’ll have to chase after it. Commit powerfully in your decisions. Take some risks. If not now, when?

The third tip I can give is to be ready to not feel ready. You’re going to find that a lot of times in life, you won’t know what to do. I cannot emphasize this enough—there is nothing wrong with feeling that way. It shows where there is something that you could learn or have that is new to that part of your life. Dare I say it, you want to feel like that. The more often you do, the more you get to experience in your life.

The fourth tip is to never lose sight of what is important to you. Your friends, your academics, your family, your dreams—none of these things have to be sacrificed to live a whole life. Sometimes you won’t have much time to spend with friends, and you’ll be spending a lot of time with your books. Sometimes you won’t make a phone call to your parents for a month, and you’ll spend hours with your friends. Sometimes you’ll be getting to live your dream, and you won’t be around a book as much. What is important is that you keep sight of these things. None of them needs to be stopped and stifled. Learn to manage your time around those things that are of importance to you.

Finally, and most importantly, remember that you create your life. Ups, downs, high grades, low grades, friendship, family, dreams, love—you have a say in these things. Love it. Love that you get to be where you are. Love that you get to have the family you have. Love that you have made such an amazing commitment to your life by taking on academics. Love that you can create friendships and that you can be a part of other people’s lives and what they love. You’re surrounded by amazing people. Love it. These are the reasons that you’re here.



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