To the Class of 2016,
It’s graduation day. This is what you have been working towards for not only the past four years, but since you first stepped onto the playground in kindergarten. For some of you I’m sure this day couldn’t come soon enough. For other’s you may be smiling on the outside, yet terrified that you aren’t ready to take this next leap. Either reaction or some reaction between jubilation and horror is quite fine.
This is a big transition in your young lives and as a therapist who works with many teenagers and young adults, I would like to stress that graduation does not mean you should have your life figured out. Many of you are headed off to post-secondary school in the fall. Some of you may be confident in the field you are pursuing, ready to dive into your studies so you can get out and build your career. There are some of you who are going to school with absolutely no ideas as to what you want to pursue or what direction you should be going. There are some of you who will be taking time off to work, travel or stress about what you should be going into next year. Any of the above scenarios are quite fine.
There is no right or wrong path for any of you. There are very few decisions in life that cannot be reversed or altered. If you want to go to school, great, go. If you change your mind, great, take some time off. This is the time to explore, learn about yourself, and stretch your wings. You are all capable of so much more than you realize. Unfortunately this time of life has become riddled with pressures and expectations from parents, friends, yourself and society to grow up and become contributing members of society.
Exploring different fields in post-secondary school is contributing to society by increasing your knowledge base and your understanding of the world and people. Working an entry level job is contributing to society as you learn various skills that future jobs will build upon. Traveling the world is contributing to society as you learn that people have much more in common than they do that differentiates them. The world needs more caring, compassionate people.
As you embark on the next phase of your life, whatever that might be, please make it your phase. Do what you need to do for you, regardless of what other people may think. Enjoy these next few years as you grow into your skin and get to know yourself. You don’t need to have life figured out at 18, 23 or even 30. Life is a process and journey, enjoy the ride, and lift some of pressure to have it all figured out.