I just picked up the local paper and found a special insert that featured the 2011 High School graduates for our surrounding area. Asking myself how it could possibly be graduation time already, I quickly glanced through the names and faces wondering if I would recognize anyone. I found myself reading up on the Valedictorians and Salutatorians from all the neighboring communities. The paper interviewed each of the highest ranking students with the same questions: What are your plans after graduation? Are you nervous to give your commencement speech? What are your hobbies? And, what advice would you give to your underclassmen?
Expecting some pretty ordinary answers to those questions, I have to confess I was a bit surprised, and oh so pleased as I began to read through their responses.
One graduate will be attending a local college, not completely sure what degree she will earn when she is done, but she does know that her goal in life is to do something that will inspire others and make a difference in the world.
Another graduate confided that he was a little anxious to give his commencement speech, but it wasn’t the thought of getting up in front of hundreds of parents and fellow students that had him nerved up. He wanted to be sure that the topic he picked and the speech he would prepare would make a lasting and empowering impression for those in the audience.
As I continued through several more interviews I began to notice a common thread in the advice that these young adults would like give to their underclassmen. The same message was rephrased over and over again in their answers. Nearly all wanted to advise those students who will be walking across the stage to receive their diploma in the next few years, not to be afraid to try new things. “Take that class even though your friend isn’t.” “Don’t let fear stand in your way of trying new things.” “Take advantage of those opportunities that come up to experience something different.” And the best one, “You’ll be happier that you tried, than regretting that you didn’t.”
Not a one is striving to make a million dollars or even be a famous actor/actress; they already know that fame and fortune aren’t the things that make one happy. These young people are all ready to go out into the world to inspire, empower, encourage, and not let any new opportunity slip through their fingers.
We were all there once; excited and revved up to go out and change the world. It’s not too late, to get back to that place, ya know. We can take a lesson from these young adults and eagerly embrace the opportunities to try new things, make it our passion to inspire others and make a difference, and use our words and platforms to empower and encourage.
Thank you graduates for your inspiration, and here’s to a life of your dreams!
The Soul Sisters