The Graduation Speech We Never Had – class of 2020

To my fellow 2020 graduates,

Whether you are in high school, college, a masters program, or a doctoral program, we all did not experience the commencement we anticipated since the day we began our rigorous studies. Instead we grabbed as many rolls of toilet paper we could and set out to weather the first global pandemic in nearly a century. A rather unceremonious entry into the “real world” if I do say so.

However, despite the world seemingly telling us that we have now entered the “crap show” of the real world, I believe we were taught several valuable lessons from the commencement we never received. The first lesson being that life and not fair and life does not owe you anything. I’ve been told by several people that we deserve to have a graduation or to take part in the activities associated with graduation such as a senior walk. The truth is a graduation ceremony is merely a celebratory cap to the 4 years or so of hard work you have put forth. We should be thankful that we have been able to have the education we have received because others may not be able to say the same. I hope you take your education and continue on to do all of the amazing things you have dreamed and worked for. We are not owed a graduation ceremony or even a college education, we put forth the effort to do so. I hope you take your education and make an impact on someone else’s life.

The second lesson I believe we were taught is plans change and that’s okay! For the past two decades of our lives, life has been linear for most of us. We start on this path during kindergarten or maybe even pre-school for some of us. From there we progress through elementary school, then middle school, then high school, and for many college is the assumed next step. For as long as we can remember life has been linear. I have never seen so many people make an adjustment off of the linear path of life. It is both unfortunate and fortunate that we are experiencing the challenges associated with the pandemic. Some of these lessons we may have never learned otherwise. It is also likely we would not have become as grateful for the simple things in life and that in itself is somewhat beautiful while it may not see that way now.

The third and final lesson that I believe we were taught is how resilient we can be. This pandemic is bound to change our lives and perspectives in so many ways. Despite all of the changes that have and will continue to be thrown our way, we are stronger than them all. And no matter how hard things may seems, we will get through this and grow through it. Grow with it and grow through it and you will find yourself and your life better than you ever could have dreamed it to me. The learning does not stop with graduation, learning is a lifelong commitment to growing yourself in some way everyday.

The last thoughts I will leave you with are this.. “I don’t know” is not the bad phrase it has been made out to be. I don’t know is powerful! I don’t know is an opportunity to grow, to learn, to change, and so much more. Life will be hard, life may feel damn near impossible at times, but moments of uncertainty are a beautiful opportunity if you let it be. There is no golden ticket to life, but there certainly are opportunities that make life golden if you take them, so just take them and adjust to the changes along the way

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity

Albert Einstein

Make today a lovely day in some way!

~ Madison Eran ~

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