(An Open Letter to All Graduates)
This week’s weather finally is beginning to show signs of summer. While we are eagerly looking forward to spending time on Long Island Sound and playing tennis, and the opportunity to enjoy longer days with family and friends, there is a population in our community that might be a little apprehension at the moment. It is graduation season and for some that may bring with it uncertainty.
Recently, Greenwich Country Day School, Sacred Heart, Greenwich Academy and Brunswick held their graduation ceremonies. Our Facebook feed is full of pictures of our friends’ childrens’ smiling faces. Soon Greenwich High School will hold its graduation as well. A whole slew of our younger community members will embark on new adventures to college and beyond. That can be intimidating, both because of what they are leaving behind, and what they are about to face.
To all the graduates, high school and college, we start with a quote from the venerable Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” You have just accomplished an amazing feat. It is cause for celebration. In your darkest moments when school seemed overwhelming, and you thought no one understood you, did you know you would one day stand here, a graduate? Look back on your four years. See how you have grown physically and mentally. Every challenge you faced, you overcame, and this made you a better person.
Take time to embrace your classmates and teachers because all of you undertook this journey together. It may have seemed a singular journey at times, but rest assured it was not. There has always been a support system there for you. At first it would pick you up when you fell. Slowly over time it would encourage you to pick yourself up until we watched with pride as you told us, after the fact, about overcoming an obstacle all on your own. Your friends became an important part of your support system as you all learned from a co-op of collected and shared experiences. Now as you all embark on your next journey, your network of friends will move around the country and around the world. That does not mean they stop being your friends or support system. It means you have new places to explore with them when you visit.
As you stand in this doorway, looking to what the future holds, understand that it is perfectly fine to be nervous and uncertain about what will happen. It is healthy even. Take that step forward though. This is not a time to hide from what will, inevitably, be more challenges to you. In fact, challenges in your life never cease and never should. They are what help you continually grow and evolve into the best person you can be. So, face them head on and once you have been successful face the next one.
Never stop learning. What you have learned over the past four years has been like drinking from a firehose, and in hindsight you would not have had it any other way. Sure, you may have looked on with longing as some of your classmates appeared to merely sip from a water fountain. Everyone goes at their own pace. The important thing is to never stop learning. Continuing with Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Let learning be your roadmap to a fulfilling and well-traveled life.
To all graduates, we are proud of you. Your accomplishments and who you have become enriches our community and our lives. Enjoy this time. Smile. Embrace. Take that next step forward.