An Honest Letter to Graduating Seniors

-Joel Williams, Contributing Writer

That freaking brochure lied to me.

Find Faith, Find Family, Find Future.

I played an eighty thousand dollar game of hide and seek and only went two for three.

What a shame.

For me to offer you an idle list of rights and wrongs to follow as you enter the “real world” would be utterly fruitless, redundant, and without any real merit. We’ve all seen the colorful lists that websites like Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post have to offer us, only to read them and walk away hyper-aware of our own shortcomings and inadequacies in the looming face of the unknown. If any of you are like me when I was facing graduation, then you don’t quite have the next couple of months or years completely worked out. Instead, you scour your brain to find a scattered jumble of ideas and paths and none of them fit together nicely. You feel like your life will never look like the jigsaw you finally finished at Grandma’s during the winter break of ‘98. You really liked that puzzle. It was neat and things fit together.

So why does your puzzle look like your 3-year-old niece chewed half the pieces and covered the rest in half-digested pea puree? Why doesn’t your life plan look like it was supposed to? I know this thought intimately. I turned it over and over in my head through my first senior year and then a few more times during my second. I imagine you being there too, standing on the edge of the oblivion, looking over the edge into that deep dark void you recognize as adulthood, probably scared stiff just like I was—just like I still am—and all you can think is: “what the bleep do I do now?” Some of you have had the right internships, you’ve networked with the right people or maybe you just have the right parents; and God bless you for it. But I didn’t write this for you. This is for the rest us—for the sorry saps and uninspired few who don’t yet have our ducks in a row. This is for those of us who aren’t even sure we’re in the right pond.

Vonnegut writes a wonderful little anecdote in his novel “Breakfast of Champions,” in which two pieces of yeast are discussing the meaning of life while eating sugar. Eventually, being so incredibly rapt with their searching questions, both yeast end up suffocating in the alcohol they produced while talking. In a sad twist of cosmic irony the yeasts never come to find out they were making champagne.

I empathize with your desire to know what comes next. I’m right there with you. But don’t spend so much time trying to figure out the perfect plan that you don’t experience and enjoy growing into your purpose. Fervently pursue the things that you’re passionate about. Aspire to the things that scare you and make them your own. Just don’t get so caught up romanticizing the idea of the future you become blind to its beauty in action.

Kristofferson said it best: “From the rocking of the cradle to the rolling of the hearse, the going up was worth the coming down.” Sit back and enjoy your ride; appreciate the time you have left at MC; raise a toast to the unknown and drink your champagne dreams deep. When it’s all said and done, when the ceremony is over and you feel full with memories and what-nows, abide in the knowledge that even if you don’t get all the right things right, you’ll always get to where you’re going.

You’re going to be okay.


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