A Commencement Speech For Those Who Want To Give Up

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A commencement speech is written for those who are graduating college. A speech for those who are about to set sail and take on the world. But I wanted to do something different. I wanted to write a commencement speech for those who haven’t made it to the finish line yet.

Thomas Edison once said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.”

My greatest failure was getting disqualified from college. At the time, I was not mentally up for the challenge. On top of everything else that happened in my life, that was the straw that broke the camels back. I didn’t know how I was going to come back from that. It was the final disappointment. I was no longer in a standstill, I was in a black hole. Like they say, whatever happens in a black hole, stays in a black hole.

My father always taught me to have a plan B incase plan A didn’t work out. Since college was no longer an option at the time, I became a bar back/bartender at a hotel. I figured I could work my way up the hospitality ladder. But I quickly realized how unhealthy the environment was for my mental and physical health.

After already struggling with alcohol from the loss of my father and other members in my family, I couldn’t have picked a worse environment for myself. It was like getting free candy.

Between the long hours and hard labor, I asked myself, “Is this worth it?”  

After a long, hard road of working to reach reinstatement, I’m proud to say on December 15th, 2017, I walked and accepted my diploma.

As I reflect back, It would have been a lot easier if I was able to get a medical leave from college. However, would I have worked just as hard? I finally understood the importance of my education and I have a greater appreciation for it.

By keeping my vision and never giving up on my goals, I finally made it to the finish line. As I walked on stage to accept my diploma and hear my name be called, it meant so much more than anyone will realize.

Graduation has a different meaning for everyone as they receive their diploma. For some, it’s an easy accomplishment. For me, it sometimes seemed unattainable. Now, it’s an accomplishment that I can have behind me. It will open new doors and opportunities that may never have been possible.

I experienced many emotions on graduation day. It was bittersweet because my father was not there in the physical sense to share this milestone. On the other hand, I believe his spirit was with me.

In an auditorium full of thousands, I realized I didn’t just graduate from college. I graduated from my obstacles. 

Circumstances can prevent us from reaching our potential, but we don’t realize our potential until we exceed our expectations.

Life deals us a deck of cards we can’t trade in. We have to learn how to turn lemons into lemonade. Sometimes it takes a long time before we learn a positive message and grow from adversity.

Appreciate your struggles because its part of the self-discovery process. It's what shapes us. It's what makes us humble. It's what makes us grateful and it's what makes us work harder. Sometimes we don’t see the value until we experience hardship, and sometimes it takes failures to learn what’s important in life.

All the time you spend hoping, wishing, wanting and waiting, you could be doing! As cliche as it may sound, NEVER GIVE UP on your goals because it's the main ingredient for your future success.