My daughter isn’t wearing a sweatshirt for a university because she isn’t going to one. Her decision day happened a year or so ago through a lot of tears when she told me she wasn’t ready to go to college and knew that in a year she wasn’t going to be ready. 
In this time, I’ve had to talk to friends, relatives, and strangers to let them know that my daughter wasn’t headed towards a stripper pole because she wasn’t going directly to college. 

My daughter has no idea what she wants to do. She’s 18. She has no children to feed or debt to humanity to repay before her clock runs out. The rush to the finish line is one I haven’t put before her. And, one I don’t know if even exists. As she watches her friends and classmates go off into their lives at schools across the country she remains resolute in her decision that her time will come, but it’s not now. I can sometimes see a little sadness in her eyes, but she has since forever, known herself. 

I had friends who sent me texts. They acted as if I were someone who didn’t know the options and that it was my decision to keep her out of college. Their white savior raft threw out lifelines to try to save us, not realizing that there’s a level of depth and thought behind my daughter’s decision. 

At 16 she saw. She saw the tension and stress of her classmates. She saw the harried decisions to find a path that didn’t fit with her. So, she talked to me and told me her truth. 

We don’t know what’s to come. She wants to work, learn something more about the world, and figure out who she is right now. Her path may not end in a degree in four years, but it will be one of value and worth. 

To all of our children, going to college, trade school, military, work, or staying home, know that you are valued and strong. Your worth is not your accomplishments in these short years you’ve been here.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019!