By Caitlin De Bellis 18′

You’re probably over the moon. You’re receiving a degree in a field you love (or maybe don’t love…whoops) in only 2 weeks. You’ve worked hard, you’ve played hard. You’ve undoubtedly made memories that you’ll carry around with you for the rest of your life. You’ve gotten in over your head at times. You’ve stressed beyond belief. You’ve cried. You’ve met heartbreak and betrayal. You’ve come into conflict. You’ve come across failure. You’ve questioned yourself and your abilities. You’ve wondered why you ever chose to go to the school you’re attending. However, you’ve also achieved. You’ve persevered. You’ve met laughter at 3pm and deep conversations at 3am. You’ve experienced more than you ever thought you would. You’ve climbed mountains, both figuratively and literally. You’ve fallen in love with people and places. You’ve discovered what it means to really, truly have friends.

But there is more to come. Life doesn’t stop after you leave the bubble of your institution. It goes on, whether you want it to or not. You’ll have to make decisions. You’ll have to choose between options you never wanted. You’ll have to sacrifice. It won’t be easy. I can tell you that right now, firsthand. But it’ll be worth it. Set goals. Change your goals. Go outside of your comfort zone. Find yourself, and above all, find happiness and love for yourself. Allow yourself to fail. Allow yourself to grow. Don’t allow your ego to control you. You know considerably less than you think you know. Accept help and guidance when it’s offered. Be humble and get humbled. Stay in contact with those who have left a positive impact on you.

So, as you walk into your last, first day of classes, take it all in. Remember why you decided to do what you do in the first place. Take some risks. Wake up early or decide to skip taking a nap for seminars, even if you don’t have to go. Go to field trips on the weekends. Get outside more. Cherish your friends. Really get to know yourself. Learn something new and have some damn fun.

Good luck, everyone.