Essay: Greetings to the Class of 2019
Waiting until May or June to consider commencement advice while reveling in the simple achievement of being old enough to be held accountable is not the best life plan.
The next nine months or so may feel like a burden. All is well. Just try to imagine what those tasked with encouraging students’ minds deals with each day! Behave. Little, if anything, in the lines that follow and in the academic year to come is new or not been said before.
Regardless of current GPA or current deficiency, the majority in class are average. Participate this year; the effort will prove rewarding.
The perceived nerd or vacuous beauty to the left or right of one’s seat may likely have higher lifetime earnings than the remainder of the class – but may likely blow it – or may not. In other words, avoid rash and prejudicial judgement. Jeff Bezos was considered an “eccentric misfit.” Stefani Germanotta was bullied.
Get to know those people whom now reside on the periphery.
Be kind. Avoid violence. Retract poorly considered words. Apologize. Feel sorrow and find resolve.
A generation goes. A generation comes,
yet the earth stands firm forever.
The sun rises, the sun sets;
then to its place it speeds and there it rises.
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 1
Read poetry, fiction, news and history. Avoid ignorance like the plague. Fertile minds grow like weeds.
Learn how to use a screw driver, pliers, tape measure, hammer, bubble level and a drill. Most of life comes unassembled.
Check the battery in the digital thermostat. Skills are the difference between making the rent and eviction.
Use search engines often – also known as books, magazines, newspapers and elders. Search for answers, ideas and precedents.
Participate with others. Vote. Take responsibility. Debate, but do not argue. Disagree, but do not insult. Take the high road and preserve the Republic. Create opportunity for those that will follow.
Open the door for a woman. Stand up when she leaves the table. Stand again when she returns. Pay for her dinner. Stand again to greet a passing friend. Buy dinner for those that raised you as soon as financially possible (even if it’s at the least expensive place in town).
Make a point of enjoying the life of a woman or a man, whichever you choose.
Think about what is said between one another at the end of the day. Thoughtful words preserve both love and employment.
Cook dinner… from scratch. Create something out of two ingredients plus spices.
Attend theatre. Leave the drama there but think about it before turning in for the night.
Pursue art and culture: these are gifts of God.
“If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguil’d,
Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss
The second burden of a former child!”
William Shakespeare – Sonnet 59
Revel in sport and be active throughout life. Walk rather than ride.
Hold on to best friends. Cling spiritually to family while growing independent. Have children, or choose another path. Cherish the future. Ensure its fruition. Be a worthy aunt or uncle.
Plant a garden and nurture it. Share it. Be fulfilled.
The coming year will unfold at an unprecedented pace; each succeeding year will seem to turn faster. There may indeed be nothing new under the sun, but each life is poised for unlimited discovery, vast as the geometry of all the stars. Go and seek. Keep a simple parable in mind: if each day in the life of a centenarian amounts to little more than 36,500 pebbles, how many are to be overlooked.