Chances are, you hated high school.
There’s nothing wrong with that, or even particularly unique. I speak not to incredible geniuses like Ryan Chow, not to the driven and goal-orientated leaders like Kelly Wu, nor the star athletes like Chris Santini. Instead, I speak to the 99%. The vast majority of you that weren’t geniuses, leaders, and stars. The ones who can’t wait to leave.
You were shunted into a closed campus for four years during the most emotionally vulnerable period of your life. While you were trying to figure out yourself, life interrupted in the form of AP tests, dance drama, and unnecessary strife. While you were finding your passions, you dealt with family issues, arbitrary deadlines, and regretful consequences. While you were defining yourself, you were pulled in every direction by TV, movies, and peers until you couldn’t tell where you ended and society began.
It’s no wonder why you want to leave and never talk to any of these people again. But can you?
The men and women you see sitting beside you will reappear in every facet of your life. There are 7 billion people on this planet. You will find another Ryan Chow who makes getting into Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton seem like nothing. You will find another Kelly Wu who climbs to the top of every ladder she chooses. You will find another Chris Santini who excels beyond expectation. Ladies and gentlemen, the people beside you will be the CEOs, doctors, and professionals of the future. In some way, in some shape, in some form you will find Leland once again. If you hated Leland, what’s to say you won’t hate life?
If you want college, no, life to be any different, you need to make the change yourself. Be the change, and appreciate everyone and everything that brought you here.
Class of 2012. Go off and cure cancer. Go off and create world peace. Go off and fight, fly, and fall in love. But don’t forget where you came from. At one point, these young men and women around you were the most important people in your life. Go ahead and hate them. But it doesn’t make them any less important. Like it or not, we are your past, present, and future.
For the most interesting 4 years of my paltry 18 years of existence I thank you.
TS Eliot wrote: “This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang/ but a whimper”
I plan to fix that.
And I know you do too.
Congratulations to the Class of 2012