When you lose, don’t lose the lesson:  what the Class of 2020 is teaching the world!

Dear Class of 2020,

There’s no way around it – this sucks. You deserve your cap and gown and all the pomp and circumstance. You earned it!

I don’t have a graduate in my family and I’m still crushed that traditional graduations aren’t happening. After a lot of thought, I may understand why you feel robbed. You worked your tail off and just want your moment to walk across the stage and take a picture with your diploma. And your parents. And your friends!

I think the disappointment comes from a lack of what we’re all seeking: recognition. That IS the core of every relationship, right? Acknowledgement. We just want to be seen and heard. You want to feel special.

Hey, world… did you notice those hours spent in the library and the lab when I could have been just hanging out? Do you see the personal transformation I made from child to adult over these four years?

I also feel pain for the students and parents who worked and sacrificed to pay for that diploma, never mind the list of mentors who shepherded you over the span of your life to nurture this moment. For so many reasons, a graduation is all encompassing.

There are also those year-end activities that were wiped away: milestones and rites of passage that will never happen.

NPR recently reported that “college students in particular are losing their support group during an important developmental phase. They had moved away from their families of origin, which is part of a process called individuating.”

Individuating. I love that word! Graduates, I’m sorry your vision isn’t happening. But you are the chosen class.

As high school and college graduates of 2020, you are forever bound by the resilience you have shown. Earning your diploma is huge; what you do with it is monumental. But you don’t need me to tell you any of this because you have bigger and better cheerleaders!!

The world is enjoying a front seat to all of the uplifting, virtual commencement addresses that are taking place, like that from President Barack Obama on May 16.

My favorite line from the former President:  “If you listen to the truth that’s inside yourself even when it’s hard, even when it’s inconvenient, people will notice. They’ll gravitate toward you and you’ll be part of the solution instead of the problem.”

Both Obama and First Lady Michelle are also headlining a star-studded graduation extravaganza on YouTube on June 6 called “Dear Class of 2020.”

Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and Kelly Rowland are among the speakers and performers.

I also enjoyed LeBron James’ message to high school graduates about clinging to your support network:

“Stay close to home. Maybe not physically, but in every other way possible. Pursue every ambition. Go as far as you possibly can dream. And be the first generation to embrace a new responsibility, a responsibility to build your community.”

Education is, by definition, the one thing no one can take from you because it flourishes in your mind and heart.

Class of 2020, go out there and leave your mark. You are already unforgettable!

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