Congratulations to the Graduates of 2020: The Best Truly Is Yet To Come

graduate graduation graduates

By: Nancy Metayer

Dear Class of 2020, when the year began, there was no way we could have predicted a pandemic would essentially hijack your senior year. Your school experience ended abruptly, quietly, and without the celebration you deserved.

Along with the pride in knowing you completed the first part of your journey, you might also feel wronged, confused, angry, and anxious. All feelings are valid as you transition into a new chapter of life, but the one that matters most is confidence. You have endured. You are ready. And I offer this open letter to you, the members of a unique graduating class.

Senior year in high school and college is special. High school students look forward to homecoming, prom, graduation, and grad bash. These activities are not random; they are the defining moments of a generation.

Seniors graduating from college visualize walking across the stage, and for many who are first-generation college students, it’s a particularly emotional experience. Students receiving graduate or professional degrees especially cherish the end of their academic careers as it may signify their rite of passage into adulthood–family, career, bills.

So as you enter this new phase of life, I encourage you to:

Reach out to your best friends, your mother, your father, your grandparents, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, and whoever else that helped you along on your way to graduation.

If you fail to respond to calls, texts, or emails for more than a day or two, they will assume something is wrong, and they will come looking for you.

Be the best version of yourself. Sometimes that means growing, learning, crying, yes, even changing. That doesn’t mean losing yourself; it just means you’re becoming you.

  • Work hard.
  • Have fun.
  • Keep your phone charged.
  • Be the type of friend you want to have.
  • Help others when you can.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for support.
  • Go to class, take notes, study, read your syllabus.
  • Learn when to say no. Repeat as necessary.
  • Remember that experiences are more valuable than things.
  • You don’t always need a plan. Plans change, and that’s okay. (Something tells me you’ll be particularly ready for this.)
  • You will fail at some things. This does not make you a failure.
  • If you make a mistake (and you will), apologize, sincerely.
  • Forgiveness is something you do for yourself, not for the person you are forgiving.
  • Make an effort to eat meals with other people. This is where you build lifelong friendships or not. Sharing meals is a tool in which you can learn from someone else’s lived experiences. (I promise it’s worth it.)
  • Share your values, but don’t be judgmental. Everyone is different and holds unique perspectives.
  • Always use the buddy system.
  • Take advantage of your campus amenities, the gym, counseling center, library–you pay for them!

You have every right to feel uncertain, afraid, and anxious. You are allowed to feel like fate has let you down, but you must also remember you are among a generation of fighters.

I salute you, Class of 2020. Your time is now!

Best, Nancy Metayer

Nancy Metayer is an environmental scientist, a former member of the Broward County Soil and Water Conservation District. She graduated from Coral Springs Charter School, earned a bachelor of science in environmental science from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and a master’s of health science from Johns Hopkins University. She is a candidate for the City of Coral Springs Commission. 

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