An Open Letter to My Daughter

You’re becoming your own woman and watching you grow up has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.  You’re ever more the student than I was.  You’re beautiful, bright, and your own person.  I am very proud of the things you are and the things you are not.

You have situated yourself to be able to accomplish whatever you want to accomplish, and in a less than a year you will be start making the first decisions of your adult life and in a little more than a year you will accept what I hope is your first diploma.  It seems not that long ago I brought you home from the hospital, that I visited your Kindergarten classroom, that I walked with you on your first communion and now you’re on the cusp of some of your first adult milestones.

I say I hope your high school diploma is but your first diploma.  I want college for you, but I want for you to want that – and I think you do.  I don’t want you to decide to go to college because I want it for you, I want you to make that decision because you want it.  I want you to choose it because based on knowledge and belief, earning a college degree will provide you the best opportunity to follow your interests and passions.  Simply earning a degree will not get you a job or a career you love, but it will best position you to do so.

I want you to choose a college and a course of study based on your interests and passions, not what is the most cost effective or what has the most cache, or what has the potential to earn you the most money long term.  You have no idea what you want to do with the rest of your life, and it’s an unfair thing we do to young people asking them to know what they want to do with their lives.  If you don’t know what you want to major in, that’s fine – there’s plenty of time for such things.  You should know something about what you want, though.  If not a course of study, then a location where you think you want to study, what you want to spend, or what you want to pursue in sport.  Maybe that means taking time away from school and exploring the world.  Something, anything.  Without one anchor, you will have too many opportunities and choices to make.  Allow yourself to make decisions that make the most sense, and the more anchors you can put down, the easier your decisions are to make.

You’re coming up to one of the most exciting and scary times of your life.  I am here for you to give you as much guidance and love as you need – I will go to the ends of the earth to make sure you have the opportunities, but at the end of the day it will be your choice.  Whatever you decide, it will be the first decision of your adult life.  I am so proud of the young woman you have become and I love you.

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