Well, I am officially a college graduate! It’s funny, I’ve been peppered with all the usual questions:  “Are you sad it’s over? Are you excited for graduation? Are you nervous for the future?” My answers may have taken a few people by surprise. University was an amazing four years, but I’m not sad it’s over. I’m ready for the next phase in life to begin. As far as graduation goes, I have never been extremely attached to ceremonies so the graduation itself wasn’t cause for much excitement (and let’s be honest…who actually wants to sit through a 5 hour ceremony?).

Am I nervous for the future? I’d be lying if I said no, but more than anything I am excited. Excited for my current plans, for all the ways I will grow and the lessons I will learn abroad. I’m nervous to come back from Spain, look for a solid job, apply to Ph.D programs and readjust to American culture. Every step will have its challenges, but I am not daunted.

For graduation I decided to decorate my cap with a piece from one of my favorite poets. The full poem reads:

“We are an unsung song, piano keys that don’t know the touch of fingertips. The kite with string still spooled tight, and antique bird wings that never know the taste of air. We are all that is, waiting to be all it could be”.

-Tyler Knott Gregson

Many read this poem and interpret it as though it is referring to the young and all the life they have ahead of them. To me, it is a metaphor for the potential we all have within us and a call to achieve that potential. We all could be beautiful songs, we all could be a kite flying high.

Becoming that song or that kite has nothing to do with the time you have spent on this earth. Some have lived a long life and arrived at the end still a kite spooled tight. One solemn note played that has long since faded, never evolving into the inspirational melody they had the potential to become; held captive by the invisible bonds of fear or hurt or complacency.

One of my deepest fears in life is to look back as the end draws near and be shattered by the realization that I could have given so much more. Can you imagine? Laying on your death bed mourning what could have been if you had just had more courage, more passion, more discipline, more relentlessness….The tears well up every time I picture it.

I am determined to live for more than society tells me I should. We are conditioned to think that as long as we have a stable job and sufficient income we have achieved all there is to achieve. I want so much more out of life! I want to read, learn, experiment with new ideas and dare to look past the lines of normative boundaries.

Success is what we say it is and I want my definition to mean so much more than simply material gains. There are countless possibilities, so much knowledge, so much potential and I want it all. I want to be the very best version of myself that I can be, but it is an unending process.

There will always be another book to read, another country to visit, another weakness to work on. We are all after perfection in some way or another, but if perfection is the ultimate goal, what would we do if we actually achieved it? We would have nothing left to live for. If knowledge and growth are the ultimate goal, however, then we will always have an endless supply of inspiration. We will always have something to achieve.

As I turn the page in my life story I am overwhelmed with joy, anticipation and determination in the pursuit of success. My definition of success. What is yours?

Here’s to all of us unsung songs, pianos waiting to be played and kites waiting to fly…..Here’s to the melodies we will become and the stars we will soar through.

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