Elizabeth Miller

Dear graduating senior,

I’m sure it seems like just yesterday. Just yesterday, you were moving into that dorm carrying cardboard boxes labeled “picture frames” and “school supplies.” Just yesterday you were twirling that lanyard and asking directions to Harrison Hall. Just yesterday, you were trying to picture yourself at the end of four years. Can you really be there already?

With just weeks to go, you will again enter a world yet unknown. A new life with new people, a place of new expectations. You’ve heard this before. The cliché farewell of best wishes and inspiring creeds. You’ve heard it before – you have responsibility for your job.

Whether you realized it or not, the rest of us juniors, sophomores and first years have been watching you. We’ve learned from you. We’ve been following in your footsteps, noting your achievements and discovering our own potential. Maybe you didn’t realize we’ve been learning from you. But we have.

And that doesn’t end now. You’ve paved a path for us to maintain here at Miami. We’ve grown from your leadership. We’re still right on your heels, following you into the real world. You have the responsibility or rather, the privilege, of bringing something to this world that it doesn’t yet have. Just as you’re leaving this campus better than you found it, so will be your responsibility to impact your world and surroundings with that same influence. Whether you are intending to or not, you will always be influencing someone.

And so, dear senior, I’d like to thank you. I thank you on behalf of the thousands of underclassmen who have followed in your footsteps, who have learned from your ways, who have benefited from your guidance. You have great responsibility in the years to come, but you have already proven yourself capable.

Maybe you have a conventional desk job lined up after graduation. Maybe you’re heading towards higher education. Maybe you’re still at fate’s mercy at finding a career, praying that four years of education won’t land you a bartending job. But whatever you do, do it excellently. You can’t always control where life takes you, but you can control what you do with it. You have the choice to lead, to love, to give, to strive – wherever you are. Remember that with great potential comes great responsibility. You have great potential and you’ll make something of it.

There’s a reason these sappy farewells are clichéd and repeated year to year. You can never hear too much that you are appreciated for your hard work. You are respected for your leadership. You are influential with the decisions you make for the rest of your life. Thank you.

Sincerely,The Underclassmen

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