Open Letters

An Open Letter to the Graduating Student

Last year’s graduation did not hit me as hard. I think it was because I was an awkward, weird freshman that went to community college and spent all his time studying. I recognized that the seniors were graduating and always had it in the back of my head that they were about to leave. Which aside from my brother and his now wife I wasn’t close to many of those “old people”. But the juniors, I felt as if they were going to be around a while which they were. So as I grew up and transferred to a real university, we grew closer despite the fact that I probably had gotten a little weirder, as one of my graduating friends Hanna would put it, “a socially capable nerd.”

But now the “juniors” are leaving too, and this is hitting me hard. Not in the sense that I am devastated that they choose to move away from a college town or dare to graduate but because they’re departure seemed so distant that there was no need to think about it. But today (or yesterday or the day before yesterday because Texas A&M is massive) they are graduating. Going off into the world, making a difference, and starting a new season of life.

Leaving this town and changing the dynamic of our friendship. Some of y’all I may never see again, so it has been a pleasure to meet you, grow with you, and learn from you. Others we will stay in touch and continue to challenge each other, but the dynamics of our relationship is sure to change. Nevertheless, these past two years or so have been great and whether you meant to teach me or not I have learned a lot from you.

As disheartening it is to know that I am losing some friends and undoubtedly becoming more distant with other, I keep three important things in mind.

1 – Try to stay in touch with as many friends as possible. Now I know that I have already said my last goodbye to most of the seniors (and grad students) that I have met during my time in college station. But that does not mean I need to lose all my friends to graduation. It is very easy to get caught up in the now of life and let our friendship drift apart, but if I am intentional with my actions, we can stay in touch.

2 – With those that I keep in touch with, I am excited to continue to grow and learn about the season of life that I too will be entering in shortly. Just as I learned tricks about college such as a can of ranch style beans and a can of mixed vegetables makes a tasty one-dollar stew. I will also learn tricks and what not to do as I enter into the adult world and get a job with a capital “J.”

3 – Just as I was a weird freshman entering into college, there is a whole new batch of freshman coming in. Hopefully for their sake they won’t be as weird as me but they will all still be green and in need of advice and guidance from some older college students. Now I may not be able to help them out in the kitchen, seeing as my ramen noodle recipes are rather gross. But I will be able to help them in other ways over the next two years. Then I too will graduate and change my season of life. Hopefully leaving a legacy in the lives of those around me.

“You will find, when you die (or leave town), that that part of yourself which you gave to others does not die (leave town) with you.” – Lee Lowery

So I challenge you to invest in others and also allow others to invest in you. Because even after you are done being a student we still have a lot to learn and even more so to give. Be intentional; and leave a legacy in the lives of those around you. As always, make good choices, share if you like what I said, comment if you have something to add and I will see you on Tuesday, with my literal thoughts on graduation (the random stuff I think of during a 4 hour commencement ceremony).


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