First and foremost, congratulations to the class of 2014. You made it. Iím sure some excelled, some struggled, and some barely met the requirements to get out. Regardless, Iím glad youíre done. And even though I personally know very few members of the class of 2014, I am proud of all of you.
I know I wrote something similar last year, but I found it appropriate to do so again. New year, different folks starting a new chapter of life.
So here is my commencement speech, were I ever given the opportunity to deliver one:
You made it. You have spent the last 13 (ish) years in the school system. Some of you are choosing to continue your education at a college, and that is your choice. I wish you the best of luck.
To those who are college bound, know that classes are not the most important thing. Take some time to enjoy life. Make friends. Sleep late. Study. Donít worry too much about making other people proud Ö be proud of yourself. Love the person you are, and love the person youíre making yourself. Spend some time alone on the hood of your car watching the sky.
For those opting not to go to college, donít sweat it. But I do have a little advice. Itís 2014. The world is at your fingertips via the internet. Be autodidactic. Find something youíre passionate about, and teach it to yourself. Learn some skills, do some networking. You can land yourself something you love and you can live for a living without a piece of paper and thousands and thousands in student loans. Be dedicated. Have fun. Get lost in the woods.
Goals these days at schools are to focus on getting students Ďcollege and career ready.í
Iíd say itís slightly more important to be Ďlife ready.í Thatís probably not something anyone ever is, but it would really be unfortunate to have spent the majority of your life only focusing on more school and then work.
Of course I would love for society to be full of employable individuals. I just want people to realize they are just that Ö individuals. You are not robots that have been fed through the school system. You are your own human with desires and hopes and thoughts. Follow them.
It reminds me of a song lyric Ö ďI never had a dream in my life, because a dream is what you want to do but still havenít pursued. I knew what I wanted and did it until it was done, so Iíve been the dream Iíve wanted to be since day one.Ē
Certainly thatís not fitting for everyone. Some folks are clueless when they graduate. Thatís totally fine. And itís beautiful. Youíll figure something out at some point. Donít rush. Enjoy the ride.
Some little tidbits of things that Iíd recommend you not do:
ē Donít take the life of another person.
ē Donít infringe on someoneís innate human rights.
ē Donít steal the property of another. If itís not yours, donít touch it. Norwich Police have mentioned a rise in the number of larcenies within the city. If you are one of the folks who have been stealing property Ö you are near the bottom of my list of humans.
ē Do not commit a crime where there is no way to make the victim whole.
ē In general, donít be a jerk. Try to be the best person you can be, and live happy.
Some tidbits of things Iíd recommend:
ē Know your rights; donít let them be infringed.
ē Donít let yourself be a victim; be prepared and know the appropriate way to defend yourself. (Ladies Ö college can be sketchy, stay on your toes. Donít drink too much, and donít leave your beverages unattended. Also, carry something you know how to operate to safely diffuse any possible situation that may arise).
ē Install a dash cam in your vehicle that is wired to the battery. It will lower your car insurance rate, and will activate if someone hits your vehicle in the middle of the night, or if someone breaks into it. Itís also handy because it will record on a loop and if an accident occurs while driving, insurance companies would like to see it.
ē Hold doors open for strangers.
ē Remember, every day is one day less.
ē Sit down and listen to a musician playing in a park somewhere. Let them know if you enjoy it.
ē Visit your family. Make the transformation from being your parentsí child, to their friend. Theyíll appreciate it.
ē Listen to music that makes you cry Ė both happy and sad tears.
ē Have dance parties in the rain, by yourself. Look like a weirdo.
ē Embrace the beauty that surrounds you, even though at times the world may look ugly.
Again, congratulations to the class of 2014. Do your thing. Be your own person. You own yourself; donít let anyone tell you any different. Best of luck, and live for a living.