It wasn’t long ago that I remember heading to Hobby Lobby with just under $20.00 to purchase decorations for my graduation cap. Although a natural hat lover, this hat was different than any other hat I had ever worn. This hat looked different, it felt different and most importantly it was EARNED different. For many first-generation college students, the idea of finally getting to suit up and walk across what felt like the red carpet at the Grammy’s to celebrate our accomplishments and the many barriers we overcame was something we looked forward to for years! Unfortunately, millions of college students will not get this opportunity.
The thought of this milestone being stripped away with just one cough is devastating for us all and especially our youth. However, I want to encourage you all to have a “New Look” on graduation. Your hard work and dedication will not go unnoticed. This is a time to celebrate yourselves and be proud of what you’ve done. I challenge you all to think about where you started as a first-year college student, with no idea how you were going to navigate a place so unfamiliar. Give yourselves a pat on the back for making it to the finish line. YOU DID IT!!!
My grandmother once told me, “always bring your own sunshine”, as some things are beyond our control. Go forth and prosper, we are rooting for you! Although you may not have the opportunity to walk across the stage, you are celebrated. Wear your hat with pride and dignity. Your family, friends, and followers are all so proud! Always remember, your greatness is not on you, it is in you and what’s in you can NEVER be taken away!
-Nicole White, Moguls in Training (MIT) Program Manager