Dear Class of 2015,
You guys are my future. You will hopefully walk around this earth changing everything in your path. You will hopefully see the fallacies in the world that my generation has given you and fix them. You will hopefully solve many of the problems that break my heart like child hunger, poverty, abuse, and homelessness. You will hopefully look around you and care about people and want to make their lives better. You will hopefully learn some important lessons. Before you step your foot into this vast, scary world of adulthood, I would like to give you some words of advice that I still give myself.
- Do not talk about someone, but learn to speak to them. Communication is key and unless you learn to discuss issues with whom you have them with, you will be the issue. Problems are only problems if you allow them to be.
- Find your passion. Do not find a job to make a living, but find a life in your job. Do something that makes you angry and satisfied at the same time. Find something that upsets you and figure out how to fix it.
- Understand that each moment could in turn be your last. Don’t be afraid to say you’re sorry. Don’t let pride get in the way of love and never, I mean never, take someone for granted. Call your moms often.
- Become the college student you wish you were in high school. Hindsight is a beautiful thing- it allows us to see certain things in its entirety when we previously viewed them with one eye closed and the other looking in the other direction. Take a moment and look back. Think about what you would have done differently and make that change.
- Fail. In accordance with hindsight, it is always better to make a mistake and say, “I should have done this differently” than “What if I had tried?” Failure is only bad if we allow it to stop us. Let your failures guide you. Remember the powerful words of Jane Austen: “Our scars make us know that our past was for real.”
- Be active. Don’t wait until you’re over 25 to take care of your body. Trust me. By then your body has figured out how to fight your efforts.
- Material gain is irrelevant. You are not what you drive, you are not what you wear, you are not what you own. You are who you are and spending money to try and become someone else will put you in debt and confuse your soul. Your soul matters more than others’ opinions.
- Try new things. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. Adventure is at your fingertips.
- Meet new people. Now is the time for you to end toxic relationships and make new ones. Find a few people who you can trust and keep the rest at a distance. It’s okay to lose touch with people.
- Travel before you have kids. That one is pretty self explanatory.
Enjoy these moments. Make yourself proud. Be you.
I will leave you with a quote from a book that moved me beyond words, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close:
“When Dad was tucking me in that night and we were talking about the book, I asked if he could think of a solution to that problem.
‘The problem of how relatively insignificant we are.’
He said, ‘Well, what would happen if a plane dropped you in the middle of the Sahara Desert and you picked up a single grain of sand with tweezers and moved it one millimeter?’
I said, ‘I’d probably die of dehydration.’
He said, ‘I just mean right then, when you moved that single grain of sand. What would that mean?’
I said, ‘I dunno, what?’
He said, ‘think about it.’
I thought about it. ‘I guess I would have moved a grain of sand.’
‘Which would mean?’
‘Which would mean I moved a grain of sand?’
‘Which would mean you changed the Sahara.’
‘So? So the Sahara is a vast desert. And it has existed for million of years. And you changed it!’
‘That’s true!’ I said, sitting up. ‘I changed the Sahara!’
‘Which means?’ he said.
‘What? Tell me.’
‘Well, I’m not talking about moving that one grain of sand one millimeter.’
‘If you hadn’t done it, human history would have been one way…’
‘but you did do it, so…?’
I stood on the bed, pointed my fingers at the fake stars, and screamed: ‘I changed the course of human history!’
‘I changed the universe!’
‘You did.’ [Foer, 86].