Dear Class of 2020:
Let me congratulate you on this milestone. I too, like your families and friends, am proud of you for pushing through and reaching your goal: graduation.
When I graduated, I struggled with something that was not a health pandemic, but something more emotional, more internal. I was a transfer student, so I struggled with fear in my mind. I created this scenario where the echoes of claps would start diminishing to nothing as I walked across the stage.
Another thing is, like you, I graduated into an uncertain job market. I was a first generation college graduate, so I had no blueprint. I found myself sending an uncounted number of job applications, only to be denied, feeling hopeless, and forced to move back home.
Essentially, I was one of many college graduates who slipped through the cracks. It would take a while before I would get past the many second interviews for jobs. My peers were rising, only making me feel like my once radiant star was dimming down.
However, that moment, a quarantine of my own, was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I had a habit of thinking the worst, instead of envisioning the best. Yet, I pushed past my fear. I found a second chance in it all.
This current moment of uncertainty for you reminded me of the very things that I wanted to do as a little girl — you know, before having the outside influences of other people. It reminded me of my dream to write a book (which was an “ah-ha” moment in my junior year of college).
That isolated, uncertain moment gave me a second chance to go after that purpose.
This graduating year is completely different, as I understand that many of you are not even getting the opportunity to walk across that stage and be recognized for all of your hard work. I want you to change your perspective because this is “only one” of many monumental milestones that you will make.
This is the starting point of new beginnings for you, of getting the opportunity to use everything that you’ve learned thus far to reach your designated path. Allow this moment to help you recognize your second chance, to open your eyes to other opportunities and childhood dreams. Be creative. As I always say, “As we share our stories, we heal ourselves and others along the way.”
Unapologetically share your story. No matter how ugly you feel that it is.
My final words to you are, don’t take for granted any opportunities that come your way or allow fear to stop you from moving ahead. There will always be someone coming after you, only hoping and wishing they could have the chance that you had.
Whatever you do, don’t compare your life to your peers. We all have a path — conventional or unconventional — that is handcrafted perfectly for us.
Sasha Frank is a writer, vintage blogger and podcaster whose current release “Introducing Sasha Frank” is available in print book and eBook forms. The eBook is free to all 2020 college graduates.