I always feel super nostalgic on May 22nd, especially when I get to spend the day celebrating another friend’s graduation. I grabbed my seat today at Nassau Community College to watch my birthday girl Jackie Bryan graduate and I thought, “I should have worn sunscreen” ; which immediately made me think of the 1999 hit – “Wear Sunscreen”. How could I have forgotten the most important piece of advice I was ever given!? As the sun beat down on my shoulders, I watched a group of recent graduates yelling, laughing, taking selfies, and snapchatting while their professors and classmates gave heartfelt speeches about their future. One of the speakers lectured about unavoidable, or inevitable suffering and the general concept of how the events that we struggle through are the ones that shape who we become.
Then I thought about the mind-blowing fact that 9 years ago today I graduated from FIT with the most incredible and inspiring group of artists. NINE YEARS!? I remember walking around with an unlimited amount of pride until people would ask me, “so what’s next for you?” I had no effing clue. Yet there’s not one part of me now that wishes I could hop in a Delorean and go back to that moment to give my graduation self all of the secrets to prevent the pain and suffering I’d endure with every job and relationship. It all happens for a reason, somehow.
Graduation is so much more than just a day where everyone wears the same unflattering apparel and then gets drunk. There’s a story behind every individual hat, and every one of those stories should be celebrated. Congratulations to the class of 2016!!! For some friends, I only know what I see on Facebook; but I also know that your struggles were real and every bit of hard work will pay off. Congrats to all of my friends who kicked ass for the past 1-4 years to earn a diploma!! I can’t wait to see what all of your futures hold. Cheers to the Fashion Institute of Technology Illustration Class of 2007! You will all be in my heart always. Sal hats and all. <3