Long Walk, No Stage
Graduates around the globe cease to strut], creating even more emotional turmoil surrounding the pandemic.
This is a time to come together and support one another. Give recognition to our hard workers and future leaders!
All of the years you put into college. All of the sacrifices you made to get you to that almighty stage? There were early mornings and late nights. There were bad decisions that cost you time. How many rehearsed conversations did you have that lead you to the best editorial team(s) of your collegiate life?
Who would have known the negotiator, collaborator, and goal crusher you'd become. Yet, you did it. You traded moments for term papers. You passed on opportunities you may never get again, in the name of your future. You managed your time, which afforded you good grades, and you did it all for your degree. You also did it to hear the announcer call your name as you took your turn to walk the stage.
This May was your time to shine in a big way. This May was your time to have onlookers witness your accomplishments amongst a massive celebration. Over this past year, you envisioned your moment. That is what kept you going. You made plans to walk confidently across that stage, and your undergraduate worries were going to fade away with each step. Because. You. Made. It.
And then the pandemic. It robbed you of that experience. It ceased to acknowledge your hard work. Your dedication. Your persistence. It wreaked havoc on the world and your ceremony.
So, what do you do now? Cry. Be angry. Shout, talk about it, journal it! Feel the pain that all of this has caused you. Process the grief that is rendering. You have that right. You've worked SO hard. And I see you. I fought my way through college as a first-generation student (and a student in general). I understand the choices you've made to earn your degree. And It breaks my heart that you all won't walk across the stage this year.
However, my only request is that you give yourself a time limit to lament. Observe your emotions thoroughly. Put a timeframe on your rumination and work through the grief during that time. You have to get over that hump, and avoiding the disappointment has hardly ever worked. The harsh truth is that the world keeps moving. And so, you must, too.
This is yet another occurrence that took you on a detour. You are still worth the praise. Your accomplishments are still deserving of that (now distant) celebration. And it all will come in due time. Even if it doesn't happen as you had once imagined. Have no doubt that you've arrived, graduate. Now it's time to prepare for what lies ahead. That is the beauty of this thing called life. It is ever-changing, forcing us to move along. When you gracefully accept each challenge and proceed, you follow the adventure. So, get excited about your next steps! This is merely the beginning. Each chapter that closes brings new opportunities to explore. Cheers to you and all that you will do!