As I was gathering input for this graduation speech, several people suggested including a profound quote offering “encouraging advice to the young graduates”, and then there were others who said, “eh don’t worry about it, no one listens to those anyway.” Fortunately, I was actually able to take from both suggestions and found a happy balance.
You see, I won’t tell you today to: “Dare to dream” or “Find your own vision” or even to “Strive for excellence,” or any trite cliché that’s ever been said in a graduation speech. So this might not be your typical commencement. I have no list of “Do’s and Don’ts” for you. I don’t have any funny stories about politicians or teachers. I don’t have any jokes, nor do I have any interesting quotes from real famous people. And so you may be wondering. Why?
Because there are only a few times in life where you can really have time to sit, relax, and at least pretend to be interested in another kid’s advice on what works for them. This is one of those times where I get to fill you in on what has kept me going, trusting that you can relate.
First, in attempt to take the advice to include a symbolic quote, it became quite clear that no matter what, life is an endless stream of contradictions and inconsistencies. You see, they tell us that “haste makes waste,” but then, “the early bird gets the worm.” And “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can get done today,” but we’re supposed to “stop and smell the roses”? When do we have time to smell the roses when we’re busy doing everything today? And how do you “shoot for the moon” when you are being told to “wish upon a star”?
I mean come on....
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... and be proud of all you have accomplished here at McNeil. Sure it’s long, sure we have tons of kids in our class, but stare at everyone’s shoes or something. Laugh it up at the kid who is wearing flip flops. Chuckle at the girl who is only 4’11” and takes 5 strides for each of your 2. Er, wait, that’s me. Enjoy this moment. Don’t rush through these motions. This is a significant event. It does deserve grins, laughter, and an optimistic attitude.
Life will run you by if you don’t take time to enjoy all the small things. And remember, it’s those little things that make life funny. People should laugh at most of the things in life, cry at a few, and be neutral at hardly anything.
Guys, I thank you. It has been an honor to serve as your class president. Good luck. Now, I am going to make like America Online Instant Messenger and sign off with an L-O-L. Good bye.
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