Commencement from childhood role model

Reflections before graduation


Jordyn Deschamps

I sit in my room looking at the next chapter of my life that has taken its representative form as a cap and gown, feeling every emotion that has garnered up until this very moment. I study the ebbs and flows of life of those who have come before me, one person comes to mind, that of who is in the same position I am today. 

Recently singer-songwriter Taylor Swift received her doctorate degree in fine arts from NYU in New York. Feeling like a proud fan, I watched the ceremony with her 2008 Fearless album to my right, and her graduation speech playing on my left. As I watched, one sentence stood out in my mind, “you’re on your own now.”

I’m on my own now, although with the support and love from my family and friends I keep thinking of the new changes in my life that are about to come. Swift makes this comparison about how she had switched her musical genre more than two times. For me, this represents a new thought process that will come with change from a high schooler to a college student. I no longer just get to think about which one of my friends are hanging out together or obsessing about what an ex and his new girlfriend might be doing tonight. 

This change brings about the rational decisions that I will soon make on the daily. In simpler terms, I will have to make time to make dinner for myself instead of yelling down the stairs to my mom who has been preparing a meal for my family and myself Or learn how to budget my money and make sure I’m not going overboard with my expenses so I can pay rent. 

This change is a part of growing up, and it’s scary. 

Growing up is tough — you will make many mistakes that you want to take back, or you will do things that you probably shouldn’t have. In Swift’s speech, she spoke these very words “all mistakes lead to the best things in life.” Although I like to pretend that I have done nothing wrong in my life, that is simply not true. There have been moments that I wished I could have taken back, from ordering something off of a food menu and ending up not liking it, or life-changing moments like choosing which relationships I wanted to put more time and effort into. I won’t say that every decision in my life was a mistake. Whether I have kept those certain relationships or it has not stood the test of time, those moments and memories that I had were the best things in life. 

 We are all writers of our own journeys. Swift, in her own words, emphasized that very heavily in her speech. That line deliberately connects to where I am right now, having picked a college to attend this Fall, and not knowing if it’s the right decision, but it being a decision nonetheless. Making and picking new friends that I want to share the next 4 years with and choosing classes to make up my daily life — this is me writing my journey and deciding what I want to do with it.

The word change is a big part of my life now. Leaving high school — the only thing I have known for the recent years and moving on to the next is quite intimidating to face. My big takeaway from Swift’s speech was “Life can be heavy, especially if you try to carry it all at once.” One lesson that I am still learning is that it’s okay to need help. Swift in her speech hinted at this lesson in a very discreet way. She goes on to talk about how life is a catch and release, further explaining that there will be times when you will decide what things to keep and what things to let go of. This is a lesson in life I personally need more practice with — knowing when it’s okay to let go and when I should continue to hold on. 

Comparing my life with Taylor Swift’s is like comparing night and day, as she’s an international superstar and I’m just a girl sitting alone in her room. We are two different sides of the spectrum but come together sharing a common experience. Growing up I have always considered Swift to be a role model, and having this advice given from her at the right moment, at the right time in my life, has felt like the perfect coincidence to further my inner knowledge and strength of the world that I am about to enter.