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My Valedictory Address to the Class of 2021

by | Jun 7, 2021 | Thoughts from 175 | 0 comments

Congratulations! You made it through. This has been a most trying 15 months. Learning remotely has been quite a challenge. But trust me, teaching remotely has not been a cake walk.

However, consider how fortunate you are to be living in a world where technology brings school to you. In my generation, had this pandemic occurred, schools would be shuttered and no learning would have occurred. A total of three semesters of high school would be lost. Be happy you got high school done when you did.

You are about to embark on an amazing journey. Whether you are going to a university overseas, across the country or just across the county, find your passion. Find your soul mate.

This has been a bizarre year, admissions-wise. That “dream school” may eluded you. Maybe you are going to your second, third, or only choice school. Being envious of your classmate who “took your spot” is normal. Get over it if you’re still ruminating. On to bigger and better.

So here are a few things to remember:

  • First, bloom where you’re planted. Once you’ve started at your new home, you will never look back.
  • Second, you will make friends; everybody wants to meet new people. Sitting around a large table with them at dinner time will make these people your second family.
  • Third, find that wonderful coffee shop that has that wonderful scone you’ll take your parents and siblings to on Family Weekend.
  • Fourth, discover a cozy nook on campus where you can get lost in all that reading you will be doing.
  • Last, learn about your adopted hometown. Many years from now your school and its town hold a special place in your heart.

Don’t be intimidated by your professors. They are human beings, too. They do want to get to know you. I speak from experience: as a professor myself, I love when my students reach out for guidance, be it about my course, future courses or their career. Your professors are very well-connected. You never know how they can help you. They may even help you get that coveted internship or first job. I’ve done it for my students.

Don’t be afraid to try a totally offbeat course. It may not have any connection to a future career. However, perhaps it will teach you how to think – hopefully outside the box. Take an Art History course. Learn how to appreciate all genres of art. Learn a new language. Colleges have far many more to offer than your local high school.

Take a calculated risk. I never wanted to write for my high school newspaper. However, I tried it in college. Even though I only did it for two years, I learned how to ask questions and edit my own material. As a college senior, I was a Resident Advisor. If you had asked me as a freshman whether I would ever envision myself doing that I would have thought you were insane. You will grow and change in college. The child your parents raised and the adult that walks in the door after freshman year may be two distinct people.

Last, if you go on Facebook or Instagram or TikTok, don’t be put off by all your high school classmates’ showing their best version of themselves at school. Trust me, at least one of them got a low grade on a first exam, was turned down by a fraternity or sorority or are occasionally as homesick as you.

So, get out there and shine. Get excited about September. Pick out that fun bedding ensemble and neat stuff for the dorm room. You’re in for an amazing adventure.

You are dedicated to your kids. So are we.

Contact us today to make a plan for them to succeed!