The graduation with the cap and gown, the stage, the cheering audience, the parties and friends are not happening this year. This sucks! No one should tell you that it doesn’t and unfortunately you the class of 2020 is learning one of life’s toughest lessons, life is unfair.
However, you are also being given one of life’s greatest gifts, the option to overcome. You can fill in any cliché you want at this point, but the truth remains, what you choose to do in this very difficult situation will remain with you for your entire life.
Losing something as significant and important as the opportunity to graduate from high school and say goodbye to the friends and family you love is devastating. Let this devastation foster an opportunity.
While we relish the parties, the awards and ceremonies, the final goal, the last act of your senior year, what you are truly celebrating is the relationships and life that you have built in your last four years. Do not let those moments be taken away.
Your graduation can happen in its truest most important form, you can tell people you love how you feel, you can say good bye, you can say thank you and you will never do anything more important or more significant than that for your graduation.
Write the speech you would have delivered if you were standing in front of your high school. Shout out your friends, coaches, teachers and let them know what they meant to you. Reminisce over your favorite moments, share them with friends, laugh at the great ones and acknowledge respectfully the sad and unfortunate ones. Speculate about your future and when you will see each other again.
To quote one of my favorite mentors, Oprah, “This is what I know for sure” I promise you that people never forget how you make them feel. And, when you make them feel they will not forget. This fact will serve you for the rest of your life. Let yourself feel and share with those you care about.
Whether you write that speech, send an email, post a photo, create a video or send a thank you note please start sharing your graduation with those who helped you get there. A simple note of a fond memory, a photo shared, a thank you written or spoken (especially with someone who may not be expecting it) will allow your graduation to happen.
This is a very tough time for you, and it is a time that none of us, not even the history books will ever forget. Mark this time by making graduation happen your way, through your heart. #mygraduation2020
P.S. One other thing I know for sure, find some way to thank the parents that raised you… believe it or not their hearts are more broken than you can possibly imagine.
P.P.S. I still have every thank you note I have ever received from a student.