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A Graduation to an Unknown Future

As the month of April begins to draw to a close, colleges and high schools around the country are now beginning to draw attention to every student's favorite topic during the months of May and early June: Graduation.

Both exciting, and somewhat nerve-racking, graduation is a time for celebration. It is a celebration of the past, the present, and the future, even if for some, that future is uncertain.

Many high school students share in that nervous feeling right before graduation. They know that in just a few short months, they will either be venturing off into a new school with many unknown possibilities, or perhaps they will be jumping right into the workfield, or the military, or maybe, they don't have any set plans. In any case, their futures each contain a series of open doors, and it is up to them to decide which door they will walk through.

Sometime after my own high school graduation, many years ago of course, I wrote a poem dedicated to my own personal fears that I endured as my peers and I waited for our procession cue. Doing so inspired me to share this piece with others, hoping that the vivid description and language helps other students, of all graduating ages, to feel more at ease with experiencing the unknown.

We, as humans, can do and see many things, but even I would not want my future to be known to me. Some feel that if we were to know exactly what would happen to us in the future, we would be able to spend time preparing for those moments. But sometimes; however, the uncertainty of the unknown can be a beautiful thing. The possibilities of our future lives are endless, and we have been given the keys to a successful future through our own education. Instead of becoming anxious and fearful of the unknown, we should embrace it.

Imagine when we were young, and our parents would tell us that a surprise would be coming to us soon, but they would not tell us the surprise. Remember how hopeful and excited you felt as a child, waiting anxiously and wondering what that special surprise would be. It is no different now as an adult as it was for us back then as children. Being hopeful and optimistic for the future are just two of many ways to look at life after graduation.

Fear makes us want to retreat to what we know and where we feel comfortable and safe, but if we do not courageously take a step out of our past and willingly make an effort to try, or experience, something new, we will never truly know the wondrous possibilities that lay before us in our future.

If you are a student that will be graduating this year, remember this: dare to boldly push through that door of unknown possibilities, and to give new things a try. Remember your past, but don't let it hinder your journey. Let go of the bad, embrace the good, and experience the new.

Celebrate, be proud, be smart, and be brave!

"We stood in our places on the football field,
waiting for our signal to walk,
becoming nervous by the second.
And as seconds became minutes,
I turned my head towards the faces of my current classmates
and soon-to-be strangers.

Hugs and smiles seemed to be the fad of the day,
except for me.
I placed my sweaty palm on my gown
slowly running it down my right side,
smothering the wrinkles that appeared in my past innocence.
Wrinkles were the enemy of me;
the people of hate who longed to cause suffering.
And I being the one to endure it;
the backstabbing and rejection;
the humiliation forced upon me by peers;
the emotional pain from no received love throughout my childhood
and the physical pain received.
Yet there I stood in that innocent gown:
a crumpled and wrinkled mess.

My eyes caught a glance of my hands;
one tightly grasping the gown,
the other continuing to smooth the wrinkles before my name was called.
I looked toward my fist that was clutching the gown
and through the wrinkled mess I saw a little girl
cowering in her own world of misery on a playground blacktop.
She lifted her head,
and I saw a tiny sparkle of hope flash in the sapphire pools of her eyes.
But only for a second,
until a bigger girl came and pushed her to the ground
and strutted away while her friends laughed and taunted.
And when they disappeared into that foggy playground,
that spark of hope drowned in the sapphire eyes of the little girl.
I wondered then if I was destined to remain as that little girl,
always being on the receiving end of the wrinkled mess,
or was I to be the hand smoothing the wrinkles?

To be standing there in that white gown flowing in the evening breeze,
I had overcome the hatred.
It was time that I smoothed out the wrinkles from my innocent past
and let go.
So I watched as I released my grasp
dropping the gown into the course of the wind,
while taking that same hand
and smoothed the wrinkles on the gown
until they too disappeared into the fog I called my past,
so that when my name was finally called to celebrate my past,
I would be up there
celebrating my start to the future."