As I sit here on my final evening studying for the final two exams of my undergraduate career, I can’t help but think back on the last few years of my life. This is somewhat of a personal memoir to reflect on my experience, to see if I can bring meaning to some of what I did, and if at all possible inspire a reader in some form or fashion. It’s tough to sit here, pretty emotional that is, and study knowing that it is the end of the road for me. Some people may not know, but I tend to write when I am able to and have a bit of time; if I ever have something on my mind that I need to release, this is usually an outlet for me (might I add that I am not the best writer - my papers have always been below par). Sorry for any length this may have.
I’ve been impacted by many people through the past few years, from mentors to acquaintances, and I just wanted to share what I may have taken away. I’ll start with saying that we are each our own person, and we each have something very special to give the world. I spoke in a PREP meeting one evening about being a change, believing in a better future, and I made sure to press this outlook. We are all here at this moment, in this place, and by happenstance we just so happen got to know each other. Do you think there is no reason behind this? Statistically speaking it’s crazy that we know each other, being that the world is some odd 7 billion people now. We just so happen to be of similar age and have similar ambition in order to cross paths, and I sure am thankful that I have had the opportunity to get to know you because you are special, and you more than likely inspire me and enlighten me in some way.
It thrills me to see the success of my friends, because it just so happens that I surround myself with brighter, smarter, more competent individuals than myself, and that’s perfectly fine. I cannot wait to see the things that my friends do to the world, as each of them may cultivate in success whether it’s following a passion and opening a coffee shop, pursuing humanitarian efforts, or climbing the managerial ladder to CEO of a multinational corporation. I pray that I will be able to celebrate with each of my friends with every achievement.
In each of us a hero resides. It’s amazing to see the grit and gumption people have, especially in the trials one may experience. It’s the ambition to never give up, to continue moving forward regardless of the speed bumps and always being picked last - that really stands out. I’m talking about the heroes in us all that make us click and do the things we do. Why do we even go to school? Why do we strain our minds on these exams? Why do we wake up in the mornings? It’s because there is a well-concealed hero in us that wants to do good, that wants to thrive and step up to the occasion, and most importantly make the people and things around us better. I say that in the face of some who may want to be cynical, but we get up and go because we want to better ourselves and provide something better for those we surround ourselves with.
One hard lesson is that a mistake not learned from is the worst mistake of all. Take it from me - I have done many things wrong and a very few things right. If I were to deny those mistakes and not take anything away from my experience, I would be one poor soul. Who knows where I would be without the people to tell me I was wrong, or to show me right from wrong. Try your hardest not to make mistakes, but when you do – which you will – make sure to learn from them because they are the best lessons in the world.
I ponder about love often, what does it really mean to love? C.S. Lewis defined it as being more interested in another’s happiness than you are your own. I think that’s a pretty good starting point. I can’t really speak much to love as I am only 22 years old and haven’t played much in the love game. I do love my family and my friends, but I haven’t found that true love that I care for more than myself. I’m a pretty ignorant fellow at times, and I tend to be selfish in this respect. In all of my experiences though, love is something that appears to be the closest thing to genuine happiness. It is reason for the simple being of me, all of the carbon-based matter than I am, to exist. We are to love others, we are to seek genuine happiness, and I sincerely hope that I one day will achieve just that.
One last thought, as it should pertain to school and the education you receive and your experience while at school. Don’t ever let a good opportunity pass you by. When you do have the capability to do something fun and spontaneous, please do so. Whether it’s traveling to an away game, pranking a friend, or taking a trip to India, just hop on board. My best experiences in college are ones that came from an unplanned thought or opportunity. My experience abroad was all spur-of-the-moment and last minute at that. My best memories here are from quick “yes” responses to a given opportunity. I wish that you might live in a way that generates no regrets because you did all you can do with the resources you are provided.
With that said, I wish that you may work hard and not lose sight of your aspirations. It’s sometimes easy to give up in the midst of a tough semester or class, and as you move on other distractions can jade the big picture. I know that’s been the case for me. I understand that this may never happen to some, because priorities are in line and, well, they are just more put together than myself. But for anybody that is like me, always pursue excellence and don’t let distractions get in your way. Finish in the top of your classes, graduate with honors, go out and land the best job you can and make it the one you want. It takes those miserable nights of studying while your friends go out; it takes the early mornings with little rest, and sacrifices when you feel like you’re at your weakest. The job of a college student involves a lot of sacrifice, and I hope that you are willing to make your fair share because you see the big picture; you see the light at the end.