An Open Letter to My Graduating Seniors

Let me begin by confessing that I look down on the concept of an "open letter" and generally dismiss their use in popular media. But since I have several graduating seniors and the group I am addressing is diverse and lovable, I have resigned myself to this trendy format in hopes of pitching the tent stakes wide.

 

I hope you are proud of yourselves.

 

No. Really. Don’t read that sentence in a Chandler-from-Friends voice. Really, truly. I hope you are very proud of yourselves.

 

I know some of you are coasting across the finish line on fumes but graduating from an undergraduate college program is no small thing. According to census data released in December of 2017, around one third of Americans 25 years or older have undergraduate degrees. While this is the highest number of college grads to date, it is still a relatively small and distinct group. Getting this far required commitment, hard work, and dedication. You stuck it out.

 

I also hope you are overwhelmed with gratitude. You might have had to earn scholarships, work extra jobs, or even become the first in your family to do this, but regardless of the challenges, your access to resources and opportunities contributed to you getting here. Two thirds of the American population over 25 aren’t just living without college degrees because they felt like opting out. Many of them lack the basic opportunities and supports that you have had access to.