dear class of 2016

I can’t believe it’s time for this again. It’s hard to believe that another year has passed…more seniors have graduated. It’s been two years since I’ve graduated high school, and another two before I graduate from college. The days have been long, but the years have been short. It has been the wildest ride of my life, but I’m hanging on for dear life.


College is going to flip your world upside down. You’re about to embark on the most amazing journey. A journey that will change your life. Freshman year is one of the most difficult years of your life, you will change, you will grow, you will bend, you will stretch. You will be challenged. You will end up staying up all night. You’ll try coffee…you may not like it, or you may become addicted. Hopefully, you’ll fall in love with your school, with what you’re learning, with your friends. Freshman year is also one of the most amazing experiences of your life; there is so much new, so much change, so much excitement. I can’t wait to hear about, and see all of your adventures.


For the recent college graduates…this is for you too. I can’t speak on behalf of the real world. I’ve never been there. I don’t know what it’s like. Some of you are scared, and some of you are excited. I’m going to be your optimist; your hope. I’m hoping all of the best things happen to you, even if there are twists and turns to get you there. Whether you’re off to New York, Timbuktu, or if you’re staying right here in Texas-I hope this next season of life is full of growth and change. This will also probably be one of the more difficult years of your life (I would expect). You will change, you will grow, you will bend, you will stretch. You will be challenged. You’re more ready than you think you are. Be world changers. Be do-ers, thinkers, see-ers, and lovers. The world needs more of those.


“Did you think this day would ever come? Now, what’s next? As you begin your next adventure, I want to send with you my wishes… I wish you guts. Challenge your ability by trying something new, even if you’re scared. Or nervous. Or about to throw up. I wish you a generous heart. Share your time and resources with others, don’t expect anything in return, and watch your good fortune grow. I wish you a playful spirit. Remember that it’s always cool to dance, master the monkey bars, spin a cartwheel, wish upon a star, hug your mom or dad, befriend a child, or hand out Halloween candy. I wish you humility. One of the greatest gifts you can give is to be genuinely interested in another’s life. Ask questions and listen more than you talk. I wish you patience with others. It seems like everything takes longer than you hope. A boss can be downright annoying. Traffic is crazy. People are rude. Take a deep breath before you blow. I wish you patience with yourself, too. Give it your all and give yourself a break. If you finish 3rd place when you want 1st…go easy on yourself while you improve. I wish you determination. Some things will come easy. A lot won’t. Whatever your goal, remind yourself why it’s important…and keep going! I wish you great friendships. Surround yourself with loving, supportive, funny friends, and tell them how much you appreciate them! I wish you a great sense of humor. If you can find the fun in life, you’ll find the journey much more entertaining! I wish you an opinion. What do you think about this or that? Do you agree or disagree? Speak up and state your case! I wish you an open mind. Appreciate others’ ideas, ways, customs, and preferences. Acceptance cultivates kindness. I wish you common sense. When faces with situations, decisions, quandaries, and questions, consult your experiences and instincts and try to respond with good judgment. I wish you curiosity. Keep asking, keep trying, keep learning, keep living. I wish you honesty. It’s hard sometimes to hear and tell the truth. Do it with gentleness and tact, however, and you will gain respect, win friends, and feel better about yourself. I wish you self-respect.  Do you know your limits, values, and absolutes? A strong moral compass will be your ultimate guide through life. I wish you joyfulness! Laugh often. Plan surprises. Be spontaneous. Tell jokes. Be silly. Lastly, I wish you luck. For all the planning, striving, and learning we do, there’s no substitute for good timing and pure luck!” -Marianne Richmond


I wish for all your experiences to be exactly what you want them to be. I’m not wishing for hard times, but I do know the growth that happens because of them. I wish for you to find where you belong. I wish for you to learn all sorts of new things, and not necessarily about English, Biology, or History either. I wish for you to venture outside of your box and become the person God has called you to be. I wish for you to make mistakes because we all do, and because we all learn from them. I wish for you to find your people-finding your people makes life so much better.


To all the college graduates…have the best of luck adulting. Be sure to come back and tell me how to do it. Really, be smart, be brave, be full of love. Remember that no one has it all figured out (including you) and that everyone has a story. Be a ‘reader,’ be a listener. People’s stories are things we should listen to, and don’t be afraid to share your own.


To the incoming college freshmen…don’t be scared. Be filled with excitement. Don’t try and mold your college experience to what you think it should be, have a journey all your own. I don’t think anyone can be ‘ready’ to have their world changed, but be open minded because you have no idea what’s in store.


To my incoming Baylor freshmen…SIC ALL THE THINGS. I AM SO EXCITED TO HAVE YOU IN WACO. LIKE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW. Don’t be afraid. I hope Baylor is all you hoped for it to be, and more. It certainly has been for me. Baylor is special, and so are you. Find your place here, find your people, and hold on for dear life. Don’t be afraid to like all my pictures on Instagram, or ask me to coffee at Common Grounds, OR TAKE ME TO THE NEW MAGNOLIA BAKERY IF IT EVER OPENS.


To all of you…I love you, I’m praying for you, and I’m only a phone call or text away.


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