Graduation Speech: Make Your Own Rules

Graduation Speech: Make Your Own Rules

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Good evening my name is Ben Rood I would like to share with you something that Michael Konda once said: "The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you're playing by somebody else's rules, while quietly playing by your own."

I couldn't agree more. I am standing here today because for the last four years I have unknowingly followed this advice. It started my freshman year when I was in the right place at the right time. Due to the overcrowding here at AHS the Microsoft Windows NT class was changed to an after-school class. This normally full class now had empty seats. As a freshman I did not meet the prerequisites for the NT class so I quietly slipped into one of the empty seats as a pass/fail student. As the year progressed I slowly moved away from the rules and took the class for a grade and as you can see it paid off with "A's". By the end of the year I was able to pass the Microsoft Certified Professional exam at age 14 and land a job at Microsoft. I would not have been able to do all of this and more during my freshman year had I "played by somebody else's rules."

I continued to bend and break the rules both silently and blatantly. Through Microsoft I was able to participate in and manage conferences for any where from a hundred and fifty to 10,000 attendees. Interns are not generally invited to help with conferences, but I was fortunate enough to start with a manager who "(looked) as if (he were) playing by somebody else's rules, while quietly playing by (his) own."

In school I broke away from the crowd a little more obviously. After individual debates in English class our teacher invited us to debate the different topics as a class. One of these topics was where our "new" school should be located. I was the only one in my class who didn't agree with the bond being presented to the public. While I listened to the points made by my peers and the teacher I still maintained my points and did not jump on the bandwagon.

As many of you know I spend much of my time at a computer. Some would say that's because I'm a computer geek. Well I may be a computer geek because I spend lots of time at the computer, but I spend it there because it is much easier to bend the rules of the computer than it is to bend the laws of physics.

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Before I started high school someone told me that there was no way I would graduate with a 4.0. It just doesn't happen very often and you won't be able to. As you can see I didn't listen, but I as far as they knew, I listened and wasn't planning on a 4.0. I silently followed my own rules and ended up standing here talking to you.

Thank you.
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