A year ago, I graduated from college. A few months leading up to graduation, students were asked to submit speeches to give at undergraduate commencement. After a rigorous selection process, a group of senior students selected a fellow graduate as the student graduation speaker. I wanted to write a speech for graduation – I wanted to stand up in front of my class, make everyone laugh, cry (in a good way), and leave them feeling like the last four years of their life was wrapped up in a pretty, gender-neutral colored bow. In the end, though, I didn’t write a graduation speech.
I was extremely busy when the deadline to submit a graduation speech came, and I couldn’t find a cohesive thought I wanted to share in front of everyone. I couldn’t think of something that I had left unsaid, and that actually comforted me because I knew that I wasn’t leaving school with any loose ends untied. All of the people I loved knew that I loved them – I made sure that every interaction and every conversation conveyed how much I valued, appreciated, and cherished their friendship. I wanted everyone to know they were loved. And besides, no one would have wanted to listen to me read a sappy love letter to my fellow graduates. It would seem not only artificial but simply inappropriate for the occasion.
College was phenomenal. It was hands down the best four years of my life thus far, and I had been to Disney World two years in a row when I was 8! These four years definitely trumped Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and for sure, it’s a Small World After All! I have made lifelong friends, I have come to know myself intensely more than I thought possible, I learned about topics I didn’t know existed, and I started to learn about all the other topics that I will never know or fully comprehend. I grew in my faith incredibly – I have come to know and love the person of Jesus now more than ever imagined, and I can only see it going uphill from here. All of that said, something I thank Jesus for everyday is Maggie.
Maggie is a person. She’s a person that even when the sun barely touches her hair or skin, she glows as if the sun is shining through her… vigorously. She’s a person that’s always a second away from a smile. She’s a person that makes you feel like you two have been best friends your entire life, even if you have just met her. She’s a person that sits with you when all you can do is cry. She’s a person that wakes up at the crack of dawn to bake you pancakes on your birthday because even though everyone else might forget, she never will. She’s a person who, through the ups and the downs of life, will stand by you, hold your hand, make funny faces, and love you as long as you will let her (and sometimes even when you don’t). Maggie is just a person.
I am also just a person. I am a person who has learned the enormous heart that people can hold. I am a person who has realized that people may not be perfect, but they can be perfect for you. I am a person who learned that college is more important than the books you read, what you wrote on your resume, or where you go after you walk off the stage at graduation. I am a person who is learning to love people, and who has come to love Jesus entirely more because of the people He has surrounded me with. People like Maggie.
College is over. I’m still in school, earning my M.D., so a lot has changed, but many things haven’t changed. To my current medical student friends, my friends who just wrapped up their undergraduate career, and friends still in the thick of college, here is my advice. Study hard! Do what you need to do to get where you want to be. But while you are studying hard, look up and notice the people who are grinding it out with you. Notice the people who care enough to hold your hand and support you along the way. Notice the people who make you care packages when you decide last minute to take graduate school entrance exams. Notice the people who share their families with you as if you always belonged. Notice the people who honestly and truly love you with all of their heart, then do everything you can do to love them back.
This isn’t a post about school, this is a post about life. Notice the people who love you, and give them the your best effort to love them back. Trust me, it’s always worth it.
Happy Life, My Friends!