Opinions, Special Projects

Dear 2022 graduates

While walking on any college campus, you are likely to observe many exhausted and debt-ridden students hurrying to class, stressing over assignments, or sleeping on benches.

It can be a pitiful sight to witness, and an even harder one to endure as a student who takes on all the difficulties that come with being a person pursuing higher education.

Graduates: The hardships you have endured in order to hold a degree to your name outweigh the sleepless nights and student loans that will have to be paid back.

Why? Because all of you in four years or more, have created a better life for yourselves. Not only financially, but with your relationships, education, and ability to grow developmentally.

And you’re going to be okay.

You’re going to do great because you’ve done the work to set yourself up for success.

You’re all qualified to go into your prospective fields because you have done the work, you know the material, and you are more prepared to be jumping into your careers than you think you are.

And you were even able to navigate your education and learning through the chaos and disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You’re all incredibly resilient and accomplished young adults with a bright future to look forward to as you graduate from The Beach.

If you’re scared that you won’t find a job, don’t be. You have more of an advantage than non-degree holders so be confident in yourself.

Based on U.S. Census data in 2020, as you graduate, you are becoming part of the 40% of Americans that hold college degrees.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in 2020 that people with a bachelor’s degree had a weekly salary that was 67% higher than those with just high school diplomas. On average, bachelor’s degree holders are making $24,900 more than high school graduates.

So yes, you can take that graduation trip to the Bahamas.

Further, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for people with a bachelor’s degree was 2.3% while for people without a bachelor’s degree was 4.6% in January 2022.

You have job security. Stop worrying so much.

Also, you’re at another advantage because you’ve attended a university with a diverse demographic and psychographic student body. That has improved your ability to think critically, expand empathy, explore new ideas, and grow developmentally.

Working with your peers from diverse backgrounds has been exceptionally beneficial to your brain development and ability to form relationships.

And all the life-long friendships you’ve created throughout college have been formed during some of the hardest moments of your life.

You have learned how to navigate being away from home, how to provide for yourself and be your own advocate, and how to juggle numerous responsibilities.

The bonds you’ve made throughout these difficult moments in college have shaped you into the person you are and have prepared you for the long road ahead. These people will be there for you as you enter the next phase of your life.

In addition to these friendships, there is a wide networking pool that will become available to you.

So hopefully you were kind to everyone and participated in all those group presentations.

However many years it took you to graduate, the student body, the faculty, and the staff of CSULB are all extremely proud of the opportunity you took to gain an advantage in life. The mountain of college is no doubt a difficult one to navigate, but the view at the end is worth every sleepless minute.

So, to the graduating class, stand proud on commencement day and reflect on all that you have accomplished in your educational, professional, and personal life.

Congratulations class of 2022.

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