graduate

A Letter to the Graduate

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

Congratulations! You did it! Graduating college is a BIG deal!

I hope that you enjoyed the past four years. I hope they were filled with memories of 2 AM laughter, fast food runs and deep talks. I hope you learned that you were stronger and smarter and braver than you thought. I hope that you met people who challenged you, believed in you and grew you beyond what you could have ever imagined. I hope you met obstacles that you had to overcome, circumstances you weren’t prepared for and hardships you needed to endure. Those things made you wiser. I hope you can look back and marvel at how far you have come.

The truth is you are probably having a lot of feels right now. You are excited. You are sad. You are anxious. You are hopeful. Be prepared to experience a lot of feels in this big transition. What a lot of colleges don’t prepare you for is the, “Now what?” feeling that graduation inevitably brings.

For the past 16 years of your life, school is all you’ve known. From Kindergarten until now, you have been walking on an educational journey that has been laid out for you. You have become accustomed to a certain set of schedules and rhythms and habits. In a few short days, that chapter of your life will come to a close, and a new chapter will begin. (If you are going to Graduate school than you get to hang on just a little longer) Before you get panicky and start freaking out about being thrust into the world of #adulting, I wanted to give you some words of encouragement and advice:

You are doing better than you think

So maybe the dust from your graduation party has settled and the creeping feeling that you don’t have your stuff together is getting harder to ignore. There is a lot of pressure young adults feel to land their dream job, have a sweet internship, or plans to travel the world right after they have graduated. While that might be the case for a few, the very big majority is in the same boat you are. Before you get sucked into the comparison game, take a second to celebrate the fact you GRADUATED COLLEGE, and remember that you are doing better than you think you are. This time is for figuring stuff out, so don’t fret! P.S. Despite what they say, nobody really knows what they are doing at 22

Pursue your passion

Sorry to all the parents who I might get an eye roll from, but the truth is this is YOUR life. You decide what you will pursue and what you will pass up. I went to school to be an Elementary School Teacher and ended up loving my job as a Campus Minister. God has given you talents, gifts and passions for a reason. When your passion meets purpose, you can change the whole world. Jennifer Lee once wrote, “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” Life is too short to get caught up in a job you loathe because it’s what makes sense. Don’t settle for less than God’s best, He has that kind of fulfilling adventure for you.

Find your people

It is no surprise that college is a very unique, lovely, and weird time in life. Never again will you live in such close community with the people you do life with on a regular basis. When you graduate, you will most likely be heading in different directions from the people you have come to know and love. It is extremely crucial in this transition to NOT be given over to blanket burritos and binge watching Netflix. That will only end up making you feel isolated and alone. Be intentional about connecting with people. If you move for a job or Grad school or are just crashing with your parents, be persistent in finding a church or young adult community that feels like home. This will feel uncomfortable at first, but finding people you can trust and do life with is extremely important in this next season.

Hustle Humbly

As twenty-somethings we sometimes forget that we are still, well, young. We have a lot to learn and a lot of life still left to live. During this season, don’t be embarrassed if you have to work a temporary job waiting tables or reconfigure your life path. Whether you are landscaping for the summer or have an opportunity to work with people in your dream field, I encourage you to work hard and work well. Character speaks volumes to the people around you. Though you might not be able to see it now, God is using your humble service to build character and prepare you for the leadership and influence you will have down the road.

Jesus First

I saved the best for last. All of this means poop if we aren’t putting Jesus first. What do I mean? I mean you can have the job, the marriage, the car, the family, and all the vacations in the world and still end up feeling empty if you don’t make knowing and loving Jesus your first priority. Matthew 16:26 continues the sentiment, “What good would it be for a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” There will be a lot of things that will be feuding for that position in your heart. I encourage you, if there is any advice you take away at all, it is to passionately pursue Jesus with your life. Are you anxious? Are you worried about next steps? Are you confused about your future? Are you lacking purpose? Seek Jesus first and watch as He transforms your heart and your life.

That’s all I got. I speak on behalf of the entire BASIC crew when I say we are incredibly proud of you. We are thankful that we got to spend your college years with you and pray that you continue to walk in the fulness of what God has for you! Go get em tiger!

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Start. by Jon Acuff is a great resource for college seniors to help them overcome fear as they get ready to graduate.

Resource For Seniors: Start by Jon Acuff

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

I’m always looking for great resources to recommend. Over the summer I read the New York Times bestseller Start. by Jon Acuff. As I worked my way through it (it actually wasn’t work at all due to Acuff’s offbeat humor), I couldn’t stop thinking about how every senior should read this before they graduate.

As students approach graduation there is always a mix of fear and excitement. After 4 years (or perhaps many more) of term papers, all nighters and an unhealthy amount of pizza there is a tremendous sense of satisfaction as you approach the finish line and look forward to getting that diploma. But there is almost always an equally strong sense of fear – fear of the unknown, fear of failure and fear of what the future holds.

The tagline for Start. speaks right to these feelings: “punch fear in the face, escape average, do work that matters.” Jon Acuff does an excellent job of helping the reader set aside fear and the other things that can hold us back from getting started. He encourages you to just get started at something and not over analyze it. Then he goes on to provide practical steps for how to do just that in a book that is a really easy read.

By the end, students will feel encouraged that they can go from average to awesome and chase after the dreams God has given them. This book is great for anyone, but I suggest that you at least recommend this to all your seniors, or better yet, buy them a copy.

About the Author

Chris Zeigler

Twitter

Chris Zeigler is the Assistant Director of BASIC. He was a student leader with BASIC at the SUNY Oswego campus and has never lost his heart for college students since then. He and his wife, Cheryl, have started BASIC groups at three colleges in NY. Outside of work you can hear him talking about his reluctant love for the Oakland Raiders, see him using his iPhone to get "the perfect shot" to feed his love for photography and playing with his adorable kids.

About the Author

Chris Zeigler

Twitter

Chris Zeigler is the Assistant Director of BASIC. He was a student leader with BASIC at the SUNY Oswego campus and has never lost his heart for college students since then. He and his wife, Cheryl, have started BASIC groups at three colleges in NY. Outside of work you can hear him talking about his reluctant love for the Oakland Raiders, see him using his iPhone to get "the perfect shot" to feed his love for photography and playing with his adorable kids.