Dear Class of _____

Dear Class of  _____,
On June 18, 2012, the Class of 2012 walked in the graduation ceremony at the University of Oregon with great pomp and circumstance. It was a (typical) cloudy/rainy day in Eugene. We were surrounded by our friends and family. We had our education behind us and the world in front of us. Today, you all joined the us, and the many before us, as alumni of the University of Oregon. Many congratulations are in order.

When I put on my cap and gown that day, I knew that I was not really graduating. I was going to finish school in December. Celebrating the fact that I was almost there seemed weird to me. It was important to me to go through the ceremony and have the experience, the pictures, the memories. However, as I saw the pictures and postings by the Class of 2013 on various social media sites from their graduation one year later, I couldn’t help to feel a bit of regret. I didn’t have time to really celebrate, as I was starting my job the next morning at 6am. I didn’t want to go take a picture in front of a cool University of Oregon sign because I wasn’t going anywhere. You can look back on my post from the week before my graduation ceremony. I didn’t appreciate the day. I didn’t soak it all in. It felt like a charade to me, and I shouldn’t have let it. Don’t get me wrong. I had a big smile on my face and I felt very accomplished. But when you start summer courses exactly one week after you “graduated,” it feels a bit strange. In retrospect, I should have soaked in the day a bit more. I should have thrown the idea that I wasn’t really done out the window and appreciated the day for what it meant.

I am writing you this (open) letter so you can take the time to reflect on everything today. I am writing this letter so that you, the Class of ____, can take the time to stop, look around, and soak in the accomplishment that you have achieved. The ceremony. The day. the caps. The gowns. The sound of your name being called as you walk across the stage and into the next phase of your life. Let it all soak in. Have fun. Celebrate. So what if you have a little extra time to go. It doesn’t matter if you are actually graduating today or in a few months. Today, you are graduating. That’s all that matters!

Congratulations to the Class of ____! This day belongs to you!

Alex Horwitch
University of Oregon
School of Journalism and Communication – Public Relations
Class of 2012

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