Dear New Graduate: Create a Vision
“How we live our lives is the result of the story we bought into.” - Les Brown
Dear New Graduate,
Congrats! You did it! You stayed focused, you pushed through and you made your loved ones proud. Now I need you to keep up that momentum. In fact, I want you to turn it up a notch.
Whether you’re graduating from high school or college, you are entering a new season of your life and you need to do it with confidence and reassurance. Most importantly, you need to do it with a plan and a vision. It’s okay if you don’t know the specifics just yet, but having a general idea of what you want to accomplish and where you want to go in life will go a long way.
Having a vision of what you want your life to look like in five or ten years is going to be your life’s GPS navigation that ensures you’re headed in the right direction and redirects you if you get too far off route. This doesn’t mean, at times, you won’t detour. This just means that when you detour, you’re not necessarily headed in the wrong direction but you’re simply taking the longer, alternative route.
There are going to be times when life knocks you off your feet and refuses to let you sleep. And it’s in these moments where you are going to have to ground yourself. Your vision is what grounds you. You are going to have to look beyond your current situation and circumstances and remember your “whys.” You are going to have to remember why you’re doing it, who you’re doing it for, and why you can’t afford to give up now.
I was the first and only to go to college in my immediate family. Therefore, I had no one to prepare me for this new dimension of my life that I was walking into. I had to be responsible for completing and submitting my FAFSA on time. This meant staying on top of my parents to make sure they were keeping up with their tax documents, which was a struggle every year. This meant making sure I was taking the right courses for my degree plan, motivating myself to go to class, and encouraging myself when I felt like giving up or when I felt “out of place.”
I had to ask myself, “Why am I doing this?" But I also had to tell myself, “Because I want more. I don’t want to live check to check like my parents. I don’t want to struggle to make ends meet for the rest of my life.” I asked myself, “Who am I doing this for?” I told myself, “I’m doing this for my family. I’m doing this for myself. Most importantly, I’m doing this to set a new bar for the next generation in my family.” High school graduation will no longer be the epitome of our academic expectations.
I pray that you not only close your eyes to dream, but you wake up with a vision. Wake up and put your dreams down on paper. Then lay out a step-by-step plan of how you’re going to make your dream your reality. If you’re not sure, this is where research, reading and education come into play. Go to sleep and dream, but then wake up and work. I pray you go get everything the enemy said you couldn’t have, but God said was already yours.
A First-Generation College Graduate