Best wishes, class of 2023

by Breanna Adamick

We are fast approaching the end of April and, therefore, the conclusion of the spring semester – a surreal time for both students and professors alike. In just a few weeks, summer break will begin for all those enjoying such a pleasant luxury. In just a few weeks, as well, we will have celebrated the commencement of another class of Greensboro College graduates.

Every year around this time there is excitement, nervousness and sentimentality felt among the GC population and especially students, as some prepare to enter the next chapter of their lives beyond Greensboro College, and some prepare to continue their education here while watching their friends move on. I know so many people who are graduating this year and I am so proud of them and excited for all the great things they will accomplish. At the same time, I lament the fact that they are graduating because I will miss them dearly.

For some people, college is a largely transitional time involving passing activities, interests and friendships. For others, it is a place where dreams are born, paths are chosen and lifelong connections are made. Just because college may be over for you does not mean those connections should be left behind as well. If someone or something is important enough to you, do whatever you must to keep the connection alive – if the friendship is valued enough on both sides, there is no reason why graduation should hinder the relationship. In this way, remember what is truly important to you. Success and money are often fleeting; friendships can be forever.

Graduation from any program or school is a big deal, but particularly at an undergraduate or graduate level in college. Graduating from college usually signifies that the next big chapter in the individual’s life will be one in which the career they have been preparing for is more directly involved, either immediately after graduation or a little while after, due to continuing education or transitional jobs. Some people are wholeheartedly ready to finish their academic career and move on to the working world, while others are more hesitant and perhaps a little less ready to take that step. Whichever one you happen to be is perfectly okay. Your life can go at your pace.

Upon each individual’s completion of their time at Greensboro College, I hope that they will carry the memories they have made here on with them, wherever they go. Hold on tight to the good experiences, remember what you learned from the bad and remember where you have been and who you have been with. Throughout this whole transitional period, advice will likely be given and wisdom shared from those around you who seek to assist you how they can. At this time, I would like to share some things I have learned that can be helpful when entering a new stage of life.

Firstly, remember to be true to who you are. No matter how far you travel, who you have with you on your next journey or what kind of life you end up living, you will always have that one thing that truly characterizes you, that one thing that sets you apart from others. Honor the quirks and the differences that make you who you are.

Just because a new chapter of your life is starting does not mean you need to become a new version of yourself. You may choose to, it may simply happen and end up being a positive change, but you do not need to alter yourself because some drastic change has occurred or because you feel you are supposed to. Roll with the changes and make the choices that are true to your character, and that will suit you in the life you are living.

Remember that you will always encounter setbacks. At times, obstacles may seem insurmountable; remember when you overcame a challenge you thought unconquerable. You have the capacity to get through the difficult times and emerge on the other side feeling that wonderful sense of accomplishment for having made it. Go forth with the feeling that nothing is too big or too challenging to overcome if you really work at it – after all, look at where you are now: poised to close this chapter at GC and take another important step forward in your life.

Understand that you are never alone. Sometimes new phases of life can seem lonely, especially if they involve a drastic change such as a new living location, new job, new school and more, but there are always people you can talk to – infinitely more people you can meet and get to know. Simply because you will not be surrounded by the same group of friends in the same setting as you may have been the past four years or so does not mean you will next encounter loneliness. Embrace the idea of new connections while still maintaining the old if that is what you want.

Never fear a bit of failure. We have all heard this one before, but at a moment like this I believe it becomes even more important. With an education complete, new life skills achieved and a bit of adult experience, you still do not have to succeed immediately upon finishing college. Failure every now and then is how we continue to learn and grow, and feeling the accomplishment of success would not be nearly so satisfactory without having known failure at least once before it. We all fail at something – it does not have to be scary or become a large setback; get on your feet again and work harder for the success that you dream about.

Although graduation most commonly feels like an ending, it is actually, of course, just a beginning. Graduating from college is your first step to furthering your independence, a big leap closer to the future you have been envisioning and your first success in this new chapter. Do not be afraid of the change. Be excited about what you will accomplish next in your life. We will miss you but wish you all the best in your future endeavors. And no matter how far you go, I hope that Greensboro can still feel like home.

Congratulations, graduating class of 2023!

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