by Jun 11, 2015

2005 and 2009 were marking moments for me. Both were years that I walked proudly across the stage to receive a diploma that I had worked so hard for. Both times I didn’t know if I would graduate. Both times it was such an honor. Both times I walked proudly knowing the school I represented. Both times were a celebration. Both times had family and friends supporting and cheering me on.

This past few weeks has been graduation city. Every day I see graduation pictures on Facebook and graduation party invites. It is a time of celebration! Graduations are a time to celebrate. A time to look back and be grateful for the hard work you have done and how you got there.

My two graduations were very different. One with 25 students and one in the hundreds. One where they prayed and one where they didn’t. One where they gave a special recognition to each student and one that didn’t. One where I knew everyone that was sitting on the stage while I got my diploma and one where I knew a handful.

I look back and I think of how far I came. How I got there. The struggles I went through, but yet ultimately the joy it brought me. I look back and think about the people that inspired me — my teachers, staff, friends, and colleagues. I look back at the many classes it took me to get to that point. I sit in wonder, awe, and amazement. I did it! Anything is possible.

Education is such a gift. I am blessed for mine. I am a proud graduate of two schools I spent countless time in that poured so much into me. Thank you International School of MN (ISM) and Bethel University. I am forever grateful for the education you provided me.

To all graduates out there (preschool, elementary, middle, high school, college, graduate school)… I have a few thoughts for you…

I salute you! Hats off to you! You did it! Be proud of what you accomplished. Be proud of your school and the gift it gave you.

Don’t underestimate this time. Take time to savor it, to bask in it. You will only get this once. It is your time to shine. Let it happen. So many people want to celebrate you. Celebrate you!

Be grateful. Maybe you didn’t have a good experience in high school and you didn’t like the school… at least you graduated… at least they gave you an education. There are some kids that don’t get that. Keep that memory.

Memories last! Think back. Can you remember your graduation? What was memorable about it? This is a marking moment. Be proud of who you are and what you did.

As you step into your next chapter, your new adventure, do so with an open heart. Whether it is a new school or your working career, be open to what life brings. I remember graduating from high school so excited for college yet scared to leave my friends and ISM family behind. When I graduated from college, I remember being excited for the new stage of life, but scared for what it would bring and what I would do.

Don’t worry. You may be scared for the new school, new chapter, new life stage, new phase whatever that may be, but take it one day at a time. You got this.

I am here cheering you on! Go forth grad!

Congrats, best wishes as you start your next chapter, your new stage of life. You CAN DO IT!