Today’s the day. Today’s it.
Today’s graduation, the day I embark on a new journey in life, the commencement of my final summer before I have to physically leave everything I’ve known so far in my life — my friends, my family and even my town.
By now, you’d think I had it all down. I was the confused girl who took a deep breath and walked through the doors on the morning of her very first day (yes, that was indeed a Taylor Swift reference), and now I’m one of the leaders of the school. I should be writing down all my advice to give to all the underclassmen here…
…problem is, I don’t really have any…at least, none that you guys would truly listen to (ex. I would tell you to not procrastinate, but to no avail: for this was written three hours before it was due). What I do have, though, is a multitude of advice that I’ve gleaned from those around me in the past eighteen years. Perhaps these will help you as much as they helped me.
No one has had more influence on my life than my mother. Stubborn, blunt and absolutely hilarious, she always has a way of turning rain into sunshine. “Don’t forget about your family! We’re here for you!” she always yells. “And don’t forget to call!”
Mrs. Faith has been one of my most influential teachers. Besides teaching me chemistry and living up to her name (literally), here’s one piece of advice you’ll definitely want to listen to: “It is inevitable that you will have hard times in your life. Just remember that you are growing stronger to support others during their difficult moments. Also, be sure to let people who you cherish know how you really feel about them.”
He’s not really one to talk, but some things my dad is really passionate about are thunderstorms. “Continue to watch the storms,” he told me one night during a raging storm, “even when I’m not there.”
“Hey! Share that with me!” That’s my little brother, asking me to share everything with him. And by doing so, he’s taught me compassion, love and joy. What’s the fun in keeping everything to yourself?
The girl who’s been with me from beginning to end is amazing. I don’t even know how she manages to balance everything, and even when nothing seems to be working out, she makes it happen. I can’t even think of how to properly thank her for standing by me all these years, but she’ll just laugh and tell me, “You’ve got this” with a thumbs-up.
One of the strongest women in my life is my grandma. As a young girl who grew up in Communist China, she managed to get an education in one of the largest cities in China (despite not even knowing Mandarin) and later became a professor. Yep, a female professor in a country where more than half of the people were uneducated. “Use your voice,” she’d tell you. “That’s what your mouth’s for.”
My newspaper staff is my second family. They’ve taught me perseverance (saying deadline days are rough is an understatement). But we’re such an animated and beautiful group of people who’ve learned how to survive the highest ups and the lowest downs. “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”
Sometimes, as I’m listening to my parents argue about who should turn on the T.V., I think, “I’m leaving this mess.”
Yet late at night, when I have trouble falling asleep, I can’t help but think about today, the day that I will no longer be sleeping in my bed, covered with stuffed animals and layers of blankets.
But maybe that’s okay. That’s totally okay, because today, I’ll leave with the advice of giants beneath me. And hopefully, eventually you’ll gain your own mountain of advice and love.
Best of luck!