Amy Rees Anderson

A Parents Thoughts To Their Child On Graduation

In yesterday’s blog I shared that my daughter Ashley graduates from BYU tomorrow (Friday April 24th 2020).  I also shared the thoughts she wrote about the things she learned from her college experience. Today I thought it fitting for me to share a parent’s thoughts to a child that’s graduating, so here are my thoughts:

Graduating from college is a major accomplishment in life. Not just for the degree you earned but for the knowledge and experience that is forever yours.  Your education is one of the few things in this life that can never be taken away from you. It’s also one of the few things in life you will get to take with you when you pass on from this life to the next.   Intelligence gained is yours for eternity.

I wish I could tell you that you’ve graduated your done being educated, but the truth is your education is just getting started.  And now that you are done with college you’re about to find out that you are going to learn far more being out of the classroom than you ever could in it. That’s because the truest teacher of knowledge is hands-on experience.  The hands-on experiences of trying and failing, and trying and failing, and picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and then trying and failing all over again, is going to teach you more than you can even begin to imagine right now. It is going to be humbling, and challenging, and even scary at times – and I’m not talking scary like taking a college final was – I’m talking scary like being able to pay rent and feed your family and keep the lights on. Life is about to get real. So real, in fact, that there are going to be many times over these next years when you will long for the days when an upcoming test or paper due was your biggest worry in life.

I’m not saying all that to scare you, I am saying that because it’s simply the truth.  But you, my dear, don’t need to be scared of anything, because you have done your part. You have put all the work into getting your college degree and that work has prepared you to face what lies ahead.  It’s given you a foundation to build on and its provided you tools that are going to help you every step of your journey ahead. Not only that, but the connections you’ve made with your professors and fellow students will prove valuable to you for years to come as your career unfolds in ways that will often surprise you. You are READY for the future!

What you have accomplished in earning your degree is tremendous and I couldn’t be more proud.  But the thing I am most proud of isn’t the piece of paper you’ll receive tomorrow – it’s the person you are. It’s the light you bring into every room you enter. It’s the kindness you show to strangers. It’s the way you set crazy big goals and go after them fearlessly. It’s the way you can make the most mundane tasks fun. It’s your attention to detail (love is in the details). It’s your recognition that happiness is a choice and your positive attitude about whatever life brings your way. It’s your unconditional love of God and the Savior Jesus Christ and the way that reflects in your countenance and your 1000 watt smile.  YOU are what awesome looks like!!!

Tomorrow my family will hold our own little graduation ceremony for my daughter Ashley at our home. I so wish she was able to have a commencement ceremony with her classmates where she would get that glory moment of walking across the stage and being handed her diploma while the audience cheers – that’s a moment every graduate deserves to have. But we are going to do our very best to make tomorrow as special as we can for Ashley in our own little ceremony. She did let me know that since she’s the only one graduating at our ceremony that it makes her the de facto Valedictorian of the class so gets to give that speech….ya gotta love that girl! 🙂


~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

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