Four years is what it took me to get from point A to point B. And today, I did that. Today, I will graduate. But I didn’t do it alone – I couldn’t have done it alone.
To my high school teachers,
Thank you for pushing me to be my best, even when it involved taking risks that made me feel uncomfortable. Thank you for advising me far beyond my time in high school, and for assuring me that it was okay to make mistakes.
To my college professors,
Thank you for always believing in me and guiding me, even when you were no longer obligated to. Thank you providing me with friendly book suggestions, simply because it made you think of me. Thank you for always being someone who I could turn to. Thank you for always seeing my true potential and for encouraging me.
To my family abroad,
Thank you for helping me find who I truly am. Thank you for opening my eyes to the world around me, and for showing me that it’s possible to love a group of people you haven’t known very long, as much as you love your own family. Thank you for showing me that’s it’s possible to be homesick for a place that didn’t used to be “home.”
To my roommates,
Thank you for always putting up with me, even when I’d lose my mind once a week (or more). Thank you for always supporting me and empowering me. Thank you for trying to fix me when I was broken and for helping me put myself back together.
To my friends,
Thank you for always answering my SOS texts when I needed you. Thank you for making me laugh uncontrollably. Thank you for always telling me what I needed to hear and not what I wanted to hear. Thank you for being you. The world is honestly a better place simply because you exist. Thank you for not strangling me or locking me in your basement every time I would text him after I swore I wouldn’t or every time I made a bad decision, even though I know how badly you wanted to. And thank you for understanding how badly I needed to throw that last part in here.
To the past friends who didn’t make it to the present,
Know that I still love you and cheer you on from afar. Know that I still appreciate you and will always be here for you whenever you may need it. Thank you for being such a huge part of my past and for helping to mold me into the person I’ve become.
To all the failed attempts, relationships, missed opportunities, and rejection,
Thank you for being the hardships that forced me to stand on my own two feet and learn how to survive. I don’t regret any of you; you have made me who I am today. I learned a lesson from each of you, and because of that, I am stronger than I was before. Even when things got tough and I had no idea how I was going to make it through to the other end, I survived. Thank you for teaching me lessons that no one else could teach me.
To my grandparents,
Thank you for loving me and always genuinely wanting to know how school is going. Thank you for understanding when I had to miss a visit or a family holiday. Thank you for all the times you’ve taken me out to dinner or lunch, and for all the times you’ve sent me back to school with a little extra cash in my pocket. Thank you for always being good company and telling me wonderful stories. I don’t think you’ll ever understand how much I truly appreciate you.
To my brother,
Thank you for always taking care of me. Thank you for always letting me tag along on your outings with friends, even if it annoyed you sometimes. Thank you for always being able to make me laugh, even if I was determined not to. Thank you for being there when I needed you, for taking me to the movie no one else would see, and for making me dinner when I was feeling lonely. Thank you for being the best brother ever (no exaggeration).
To my parents,
I don’t even know where to begin. Thank you for always being on my side. Thank you for never telling me I couldn’t do something. Thank you for supporting me even when I made decisions that were difficult to agree with. Thank you for always being the sun when mine stopped shining, and for doing whatever it took to make that happen. Thank you for supporting me in every way possible since before I was even born. Thank you for letting me have my own mind and always loving me, no matter how difficult I made that sometimes. Thank you for always being the “cool parents” that I could talk to about literally anything. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I graduated today. I did it, you guys. And I couldn’t have done it without you.
Featured image via alexisrau3