High School Graduation and Beyond – Looking Eight Years Back and What I’ve Learned

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Couple of days ago, on 24 May 2017, Bulgaria marked the National Day of Culture and the Creation of the Cyrillic Alphabet, which is probably our most beautiful celebration. For the readers that are not familiar – on this day, as per tradition, all senior students celebrate their graduation from high school. Usually, we have the graduation ceremony right after the final exams, and the prom on the actual graduation day.

That day also marked eight years since I was a senior in high school. Facebook likes to remind me every year, how long ago that was – not that I need any reminder, that day and the summer after would remain something I would never forget. However, I did what I haven’t done in years – I looked through the digital albums (my actual paperback album is at my childhood room at home in Burgas) of our graduation ceremony and beautiful prom. It felt like stepping out of my world and looking at these moments of my life from another person’s perspective. I see confident young people, who cannot wait to go “out there” and make a difference. That inspired me to share my thoughts with the new graduates, and pass a simple lesson.

I remember how we promised each other to be always there for one another, regardless of distance and of how many new wonderful people we were going to meet. Looking back to the past eight years, I think, in a way, we indeed were. Despite that I left soon after the graduation to continue my university education in Denmark, and have been living abroad ever since, whenever my friends and I meet, it feels like we have never been parted.

Dear eighteen years old graduates,

No matter what everyone tells you – that these are your best years, that real life starts afterwards, etc, please know that the best is yet to come. You have a lot to look forward to! I know that there will be many people trying to help you take a decision – they will guide you, suggest what and where to study and in general, what to do in this next phase of life. Listen carefully, take any advice you deem valuable, but then follow your own instincts.

There is one lesson I learned over the past couple of years. Dreams come true. Go fearlessly after these “impossible” goals, accomplish them, but never forget the people close to you, those who have supported you tremendously while growing up – your teachers, your family and friends. I promise you, there are so many astonishing places around the world, but after traveling to a great deal of them, I found that there was no place as special as where mum and dad are. Do not be concerned that you are not sure what path is yours – I found out that figuring out what you would like to do and where you would like to be is a never-ending, but exciting process.

I also realized that, no matter how much I believe I have grown and changed now at 26 years of age –  become (a bit) more patient and hopefully smarter and wiser, my soul is still that of the eighteen years old happy, confident girl at the pictures, who believed she could change the world. And I am thankful for that beyond words.

Therefore, regardless of any obstacles and difficulties ahead of you, please keep that strong can-do spirit and confidence in your goals, because the sky is the limit, and this is how you would succeed.

Best of luck!

Twenty six years old, Mish

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