This weekend we celebrated my little brother Patrick's college graduation. It was an exciting time for all of us to be together and I had been looking forward to the weekend for a long time. But, as we got there, floods of memories came back from my own college graduation (which was not a pretty time in my life), and I found myself feeling SO thankful that I was not the one in robes and mortarboard!
I don't care what anyone else says--graduating from college is one of the scariest times of your life! You've lived in this bubble for four years and then, one day, you're thrown out into the real world and expected to know what the hell you're doing! There is so much uncertainty, sadness, and stress, plus the feeling of being lost in the world without much of anything to grab onto. There are expectations you feel you'll never meet and an overall disillusionment with what you thought was going to be life-changing. The fact of the matter is, college graduation symbolizes all of your hard work and abilities, but leaves you feeling like you are not really prepared for anything.
Maybe this isn't the way you felt when you graduated college, and I hope it's not how my baby brother is feeling tonight--he is a remarkably smart, passionate and talented person whom I admire and know will do great things in his life. In truth, college does prepare you for life in many ways, but I think it takes some time to get to that realization. For me, graduation commenced a clean slate and a fresh start. Whatever mistakes I made during those four years, it was now my chance to move on to something bigger and better. I hope that no matter what the next few weeks, months and years hold for Patrick, he knows that there are always opportunities to start fresh and look ahead, and that college graduation is, ultimately, just another day in a long life of days more meaningful and life-changing.