At the beginning of the school year, I wrote an article about the young black college student of today. In that article, I gave some statistics of the students who actually make it to graduation, how important it is to achieve that a degree and advice on how to actually make it to the end. This article is to commend those black college students who actually made it to the end and received that degree.
Through all of the stress and difficulty of being a student, being black, and being in an element that is new for not just your race but most people who aren’t wealthy, you made it to the end, walked across the stage, and received that document that says you are an official adult capable of obtaining a career. Commencement is your day, and never let anyone take that away from you. Smile for every picture, sing every song you know, and shake every hand that comes in to congratulate you. You have achieved something that many others couldn’t. I graduated from college May 11, 2013, and I will always remember it as one of the best days of my life.
After commencement, be prepared for the real world. Ask yourself what type of work you want to do, if you want to go to graduate school, or if you want to take a year off to do nothing (in today’s economy, that should be your FINAL DECISION). Get in motion during your final year by applying to jobs and schools and preparing your resume, practicing for interviews, and even preparing your wardrobe (no normal dress clothes, CORPORATE ATTIRE ONLY kids!). Remember, that hard work doesn’t end with college, it begins with it.
Most importantly, always remember who you are. I am a black woman from Baltimore, Maryland, and this is who I will always be no matter how far removed I am from Baltimore. Is this a bad thing? Not at all, it just means that it has influenced me in my decision making and it is something to be proud of. If you are from the “mean streets” of Chicago or from the richest part of Beverly Hills, be proud and bring those little things you’ve learned about the world to your career. It is not time to be a carbon copy; it is the time to set yourself apart from the other individuals who will be trying to get the job you just filled in the application for.
Finally, relish in the fact that you are a gifted and talented person. Be proud of your degree and take the time to rest and commend yourself. Do a secret happy dance or say a silent prayer. No matter what you do, make sure you take the time out to say thank you to you. Even though you had support, you were the person who kept going. For that, you deserve warm congratulations.