I've spent the last two weekends attending graduation ceremonies. As I sat through several valedictory speeches, I couldn't help but think back to my own speech thirteen years ago.
I remember stressing about my speech. I wrote one draft in which I imparted all my great wisdom on success. Thankfully, I was self-aware enough at seventeen to eventually realize I didn't actually have any wisdom. Unfortunately, I realized this the night before graduation.
I rewrote my speech with hours to spare and graduation was the first time I had ever delivered it. I decided to be honest about how scared I was and address my classmates and some of what we had been through in our four years of high school.
While there are still parts that make me cringe, I'm overall proud of my speech all these years later. Looking back it was the first time I really found my voice as a writer and truly realized how much I enjoyed writing itself.
Oh and I cry... a lot.
So, here it is. Seventeen-year-old Sarah imparting all the wisdom she can manage as she heads off into adulthood (or as much adulthood as you face in college).
~ Sarah Stewart Holland