July 6th, 2012
Just over four years ago, I walked across a stage and received my very first diploma. I can’t remember the commencement speakers at my high school graduation never mind the words they said, but it was probably something along the lines of – “Congratulations, each one of you should be very proud of your accomplishments thus far.” The speakers probably also said, “each one of you are unique and special, with the potential to accomplish great things in the future.” Is that really true, do each one of us truly have such skills and tools to change the world? I would have much rather wished for the truth, words of wisdom that were truly honest and would lead me to make the best decisions for me. Luckily for Wesley High students, commencement speaker, English teacher David McCullough Jr. told them just what they needed to know before they embark on their collegiate years.
McCullough told them they were not special, unique or exceptional in any way. They, just as we all are, are like everyone else. That you don’t have to go off and perform jobs you don’t like because you have to or because it pays well or because it’s expected. Achievements don’t come from working towards goals of others. Achievements come from fulfilling your own goals, self expectations all in the pursuit of obtaining essential and genuine happiness.
It’s only been in recent years I’ve been concerned for finding my own happiness. Anybody will tell you, I care about very little as long as those around me are happy but never really gave thought to myself. I feel that if four years ago someone told me that I wasn’t special and that happiness and enjoyment in what you do is what really gives you a sense of accomplishment and success, I wouldn’t have changed my degree three times and would have been spending endless hours painting and sculpting verse learning economics or math– numbers are anything but my friends.
It’s beyond important they we are always happy in what we pursue, particularly starting off in college and it’s also important to know that hundreds of thousands are experiencing challenges, trials and conflicts just like you. Whether it is entering college, high school, your first job, or just moving on to a new place, it is more than likely that those around you are just as scared, just as nervous, and just as clueless about what is to happen next. None of us are special; we are all the same in our own individual ways. We all need the same thing, and that is to be happy. No one should lose sight of this and no one should be told to do anything but. It’s what makes us and happy and how we obtain our own happiness that sets each of us apart from the next. So, yes, while your decisions from this point forward do affect your life, just be sure that you are making the right one for the right reason. As I begin to look at graduate programs, I know I’ll be considering my own happiness.
The writer of this piece is Jennifer Taylor, an Intern for Bridge the Gap TV