Advice to the Graduating Class of 2020

Kate Ziegelstein

To the class of 2020, completing your college degrees and preparing for the next step–congratulations! Earning your degree is a major milestone and you should feel extremely proud.

Given the pandemic, we understand that you are not getting to celebrate your graduation with family and friends in the way you had always planned.

While the world moves to online classes, remote work, and virtual hangouts and ceremonies, we are thinking of you, the graduating seniors, and we have some well-wishes to share!

There is an element of graduation that is universal–the sharing of thoughts or advice that those who have come before received or would have wanted to hear when they were in your shoes. But graduating in 2020 is also a unique accomplishment that now bonds you and your fellow classmates around the world.

With that in mind, here is what the Global Experiences team would like to share with the graduating seniors of 2020 and some inspirational quotes to help you take the next step.

Our Advice

Andrea Hay, Sydney Program Director:

Congratulations on your graduation! While I graduated some time ago, I still remember it clearly. You should know that what you have achieved is pretty amazing, and don’t let anything take that away from you–even if you don’t have a huge ceremony. Like many of the greatest things you’ll achieve, you are the only one who really knows the effort you have put in. Take a moment to reflect and then set your next few goals and get started. Whatever comes next for you (work, study or travel) be proud and enjoy.

Sara Morgan Watters, Program Advisor:

During these uncertain times, grow comfortable and confident in the unconventional and don't be afraid to create your own unique path forward.

Kelly Holland, Director of Institutional Relations:

All steps are valid ones, even in uncertain times with unclear futures. We learn continuously with every step we takeand we can't wait to see what's next for you! Congrats 2020 Grads.

Jen Mackin, Program Manager:

The best decision I ever made was to hold off on entering the workforce immediately post-graduation and take some time to travel, intern abroad, and discover my passions. Travel the world and get out of your comfort zonethe real world will still be there when you come back!

Brooke Matta, Admissions Counselor:

As the world grows more and more interconnected, I think that international experience becomes increasingly valuable. International experience can mean actually working abroad or even working virtually with an international company. Getting this experience is not only a smart professional step, but it's also an excellent opportunity for personal growth. Living abroad or working with people from different cultures and backgrounds will make you a more flexible, dynamic, and well-rounded individual. On a personal note, the time I spent living abroad is one of the highlights of my life, and I'd recommend it to anyone!

Carmen Chamorro, Global Engagement Coordinator:

What I have learnt is how important it is to walk your own path, to find your own professional mission. Your professional journey has to be chosen only BY YOU and in order to do this properly, you need to work on self-connection and make sure that you are familiar with your skills, your strengths and your VALUES. You have to also be ready to deal with frustration sometimes and learn as much as you can from it. When you have all this, success will always be with you.

Quotes for College Graduates

6 Inspirational Quotes We Love (to Help You Take The Next Step)

Larry Komrower, Program Manager:

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined.”
- Henry David Thoreau

Kelly Holland, Director of Institutional Relations:

For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
- Michelle Obama

Karl Jacobs, Admissions Counselor:

Someday you’ll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.”
- Norton Juster

Kate Ziegelstein, University Programs Coordinator:

Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
- Gilda Radner

Andrew Parr, Admissions Counselor:

You're always going to think that there's people who are funnier than you, prettier than you, or smarter than you. The question is, are you gonna let them stop you from being you?”
- Whoopi Goldberg

Rachel Vermiglio Smith, Italy Program Director:

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them — work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends, and spirit — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
- Brian Dyson

Remember This

Life is marked by big accomplishments, but also by small, poignant moments.

Sometimes the small things become the big things that impact you the most–like your favorite class, that profound professor, your loyal friend on campus, your supportive family member, that great book, that life-changing trip. These things together have made up your college education. 

You are now armed with an education that has changed you, and has prepared you to change the world.

The places you will go, though currently limited, will one day again be limitless. You will never forget this moment, and more than that, you can demonstrate incredible resilience, adaptability, independence, and leadership from what you make of this significant moment.

While we all recall college graduation as the closing of an influential chapter, there is so much more of your story for you to write, knowing that your experiences over the last four years, and over the last few months in particular, leave you with an impressive story to share with the world. Congratulations class of 2020!

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