Requested by Kate

A NOTE TO THE CLASS OF 2016

Sorry this took me so long! Great list request. Congrats Grads (if you're graduating this year, let us know in the comments or in this list just for you: LIST APP CLASS OF 2016)
  1. I will tell you the most freeing thing I know
    And something I constantly have to remind myself of
  2. Your identity is not in the school from which you're graduating
  3. Your identity is not in the degree which you receive
  4. Your identity is not in the occupation to which you aspire
  5. Your identity is not in the job to which you're applying, or soon starting
  6. Your identity is not in your political affiliation
  7. Your identity is not in your relationship with a significant other
  8. Society will tell you that any or all of these are where you will find your identity as an adult
  9. You will hear, if not explicitly then implicitly, that this is all that matters
  10. This will tempt you to live your life constantly comparing yourself to everyone around you (even strangers and people on the internet*)
    *I previously wrote about Internet induced jealousy here: HOW TO HANDLE INTERNET-INDUCED DOUBT & JEALOUSY
  11. It will make you question your decisions, and you will wonder if you took the right job, or chose the right city, or if your life is on the "right" path
  12. Ignore. This. Temptation!
  13. Constantly questioning your life is fruitless, and only stops you from appreciating what you do have, and what you have accomplished
    I'm not saying introspection is bad; it's good. But if you spend more of your life analyzing than living it, things get dangerous
  14. I'm not saying you won't make mistakes; no, you'll make many of those, and you'll have many regrets
  15. But that's ok! Trying things out is how you figure things out! And thinking you have to get every move right in your life will paralyze you, or at the very least pigeon hole you
  16. And you, dear graduates of 2016, are full of possibilities!
  17. I always felt (and sometimes still do) like a failure when people would ask me what my dream job or aspiration is; I still don't have an exact answer—because I have multiple, sometimes seemingly contradictory, dreams and interests. But if I've learned anything, it's that this is not just OK, it can be a good thing
  18. "Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself; I am large—I contain multitudes"
    Walt Whitman seemed fitting, though cliché
  19. Your identity cannot be found in one aspect of your life, and you will remain unsatisfied and feel lost if you try to define yourself by society's standards
  20. Dear graduates, you dwell in possibility*, and this should encourage you, though at times it will scare you. I promise you, that the rest of us trying to make our way in the world, are so excited to see what you do in it. We are all rooting for you
    *Dickinson, because apparently I'm feeling poetic