An Open Letter to Graduates: Part 1

by Sean McDowell

Dear Graduates,

Excitement. Anticipation. Eagerness. Anxiety. Fear. My guess is that these emotions, and many more, are going through your heart and mind right now as you prepare to leave high school for the “real world.” Not too long ago I was in the same boat. I have since learned some powerful lessons I would like to share with you. Will you allow me to share some personal encouragement and insights to help you succeed in college? I want nothing more than to see my own students flourish as followers of Jesus in college. And I want the same for you. If you read this two-part series you will be miles ahead of many of your peers. Prayerfully take these words to heart and I believe they could make all the difference for you.

Where Are You Going In Life?

Yogi Berra is famous for creative one-liners. For example, he said, “You better go to other peoples’ funerals. Otherwise they won’t come to yours.” He also said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” And one of my personal favorites: “There is a restaurant in L.A. that is so busy no one goes there anymore.” He once quipped, “If you don’t know where you are going you will probably end up somewhere else.” So true!

Here is my question for you, “Where are you going?” I don’t mean where you are going to college, for work, or how you will spend this summer. My question relates to where you are going in life. Do you have a plan for the type of person you want to become? If you don’t have a specific idea of the type of person you want to become, then you will, as Yogi Berra memorably put it, end up somewhere else.

I have been working with young people for over fifteen years and have seen many students graduate high school and excel in college, relationships, and their spiritual lives. And I have also seen students either directly rebel from their faith or slowly drift away—making regrettable choices they have to deal with for the rest of their lives. What makes the difference? Why do some succeed and others drift? And more importantly, will you succeed or drift?…


An Open Letter to Graduates: Part 1