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An Open Letter to High School Seniors from a College Senior

Hi high school seniors,

In an alternate universe, I’m writing this blog post from the campus that some of you will soon call home. I’m in Tuscaloosa, preparing to graduate from UA in just two short weeks.

Instead I’m writing this from my desk in my childhood bedroom in Tennessee -- not exactly where I imagined I’d be spending the weeks leading up to the close of my senior year. I know that you can relate. Perhaps you’re thinking about the absence of a graduation ceremony this year, or the untimely end to a sports season, or a prom cancellation, or mourning time lost with friends. Maybe you’re wondering how you’re going to leave home in a few months with expectations unmet, experiences unfulfilled. The past month has felt unsettling and in many ways, disappointing. And I don’t know about you, but in the midst of all this, I’ve found myself reflecting on the last four years. 

There was a phrase I heard spoken multiple times while I was in college: “You are here, in this place, at this time, for a reason.” In many ways, it echoes what Mordecai famously says to Esther in Esther 4:14: “Who knows but that you were brought to the kingdom for such a time as this?” I’ll admit that there have often been times in my life where this phrase was a difficult pill to swallow. There were instances over the past few years where I felt like I was doing things all wrong. I constantly compared myself to my peers, scrutinizing my life against theirs. I worried that I wasn’t making enough friends. I felt like I wasn’t compiling enough memories into my mental scrapbook.

How are we supposed to feel joyful and secure when we feel like we’ve missed something monumental? How could I affirm that I was made for the time and the place I was in when things didn’t always go the way I dreamt? In the unsteadiness of this season, may you find rest in the fact that even in the midst of uncertainty and disappointment, God is guiding our paths. Indeed, He is Lord of our pasts, present and futures. Even when our plans crumble or we feel like we’re left standing in the dust, He knows what will come of our situations. 

There’s no denying that it’s strange to close a chapter of your life so abruptly. The good news is that while a chapter may be coming to an end, the story is far from over. And the author, the creator of the universe Himself, knows where the pen is heading. God has placed you here, and He will be faithful in guiding you out of this strange season and into the next one. I don’t know exactly what the next four years have in store for you, but know this: there are new things on the horizon.

As you mull over the close of your senior year, and maybe grieve (it’s okay to do that!), I hope you can also look to the future with joy and anticipation. You’ll get to college (or your next step in your journey) and you’ll have the opportunity to find new friends, make new memories, and grow -- perhaps in ways you never thought possible. Those who walked with Jesus daily, his disciples, couldn’t fathom what they were getting themselves into when they left the world they knew behind and put their trust in Him. But when they journeyed with Him, everything was made new. 

As we journey too, let’s reflect on where we came from and remember that it’s never too late to make new memories. I’m rooting for you!

Kate Silvey

The University of Alabama Class of 2020


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