So I’ve finally finished my first degree. It has been a long, hard, winding road filled with ups and downs, tears, doubt, uncertainty, growth, change, and discovery.
It has sucked. Some parts have been great. But mostly, it has sucked.
Sorry this isn’t the typical “we made it!” speech. I didn’t really enjoy my college career. It was filled with setbacks: some my fault, some my being screwed over by the institutions I was a part of. I suffered with depression. I felt trapped. I had anxiety. I spent a lot of time focusing on a career that I don’t really want to be part of. I did not participate in school social life. I didn’t make lifelong friends. I didn’t have the best years of my life.
But I did finish.
And though I learned a lot. The most valuable thing I learned is this:
It’s the climb.
Life does not begin at any particular moment. It doesn’t begin when you graduate, or get married, or have a kid, or finally get that dream job, or grow your hair to a certain length. It doesn’t begin when you finally go on that trip, or participate in that figure competition, cut all your hair off, or finally man up and go get your cavities filled. It doesn’t begin when you study abroad, or start that garden, or write a book, or the package you’ve been waiting for finally comes in the mail.
Life is not a moment in time. Life is every single moment you experience. It’s every battle you win and every battle you lose. It’s waking up in the morning. It’s brushing your teeth and showering after a good, or sleepless night. It’s all the nights you stayed up studying. It’s failing the test you stayed up studying for. It’s finally passing that test, only to find out that you missed the deadline so you still have to wait until next year to get into the program. It’s deciding to quit, and move, and wonder how you’re going to feed yourself. It’s finally figuring it out, then realizing that you didn’t figure it out.
Life isn’t really where you are or where you’re going, or where you end up. Life is everything that happens in between to get you there.
So I’ve learned not to wait to live, but to take it all in and to realize that what I’m waiting for is happening right now.
And cheers to all the graduates this year! Your hard work has paid off and this part of your Journey has come to an end. Welcome to the end of an era. May the new chapter in your lives be filled with joy, and courage!