Since I will not get to see you again to give proper hugs and congratulations before you head out into the world, I have a few last words for all of you.
Dear Seniors –
First, I just want you to know that my heart goes out to each and every one of you. I wish that it didn’t have to end this way.
I wish that you would have had a final semester filled with classes where you saw your friends and professors in person, with interviews for first jobs and job offers, with late night cram sessions and your last final exams on paper not online.
I wish that you would still be dressing up in caps and gowns and walking a stage to accept that hard earned diploma with your family in the audience and your mom sobbing so loudly you secretly hope nobody knows your her kid.
I wish you would get those last days hanging out on campus and all those final celebrations and most importantly those final goodbyes.
Oh, those final goodbyes.
So many of you left not knowing that it would be the last time you would see all these people who have played such an important part in your life the last 3+ years. You didn’t get to give those last hugs and share those bitter sweet tears.
I didn’t get to see you walk out of my classroom for the very last time.
I wish I could give you (and me) back those oh so important missed moments. I wish we could be shedding happy tears together instead of the ones I know some of you are crying all alone for totally different reasons.
And I hope that you will give yourself time to grieve. Don’t listen to those who say it isn’t a big deal, because it is! You have a right to feel whatever feelings you have about this right now.
NO ONE has ever had to go through this before. No one can fully understand what this is like except the rest of the class of 2020. You’ve all made a sacrifice and it deserves to be recognized and you deserve to be respected for the losses you are facing.
But I also want you to know something. This event does not define who you are or what the future holds for you. It certainly will play a part in shaping who you become, but I believe it will only make you stronger, more resilient and more compassionate – and those are traits that you already have in abundance.
I’ve spent weeks, months and in some cases years with you at this point, and I want you know that I am in awe of so many of you.
I can say without a doubt that you are often misunderstood, misjudged and severely underestimated. You are not lazy or entitled, but some of the hardest workers I know. Almost all of you have been going to school full-time while holding down either part-time or full-time jobs AND in many cases doing internships too as you prepare for your future careers.
Most of you are working this hard because you are either paying part or all of your tuition and you don’t want to graduate with any debt. You have learned the lessons of those that went before you and you’re making smarter choices. You are forward thinkers. You enjoy today, but not at the expense of tomorrow.
You are also just really good human beings. You are earnest and kind and you are funny. Although, I admit I don’t fully understand your humor. But that’s okay, because it is part of your charm.
You’ve sat in my office and we’ve talked about TV shows that I watched when I was your age that have suddenly become trendy again thanks to Netflix. You’ve told me about your families and your weird roommates and kept me up on all the music and podcasts you guys are listening to so I feel just a little less old.
You’ve let me in and allowed me to be a part of your lives during these college years.
But you’ve also shared your hopes and dreams for the future with me, and in some cases given me the privilege of playing a small role in helping turn them into realities.
And getting to know both who you are today as well as being able to see the people you all are becoming gives me hope.
You are not graduating into ordinary times, but that’s okay, because there is nothing ordinary about you. You are extraordinary! I can’t wait to see the way you change our world, because it will only be for the better.
Raising Teens and Tweens can be hard, but maybe these popular posts that other parents found helpful will make it a little easier: