First of all, let me express to you how proud I am as your mom. You are an amazing daughter and the most curious student who has a thirst for knowledge and life in general.
I watched you blossom into a kind-hearted, funny, intelligent, humble and beautiful young lady. Your dad and I are grateful for having such a sweet and obedient daughter like you. You and your brother are our biggest blessings. We couldn’t ask for more.
Whatever you decide to do in life, we will respect it and guide you every step of the way. We love you!
Reach for the stars and always keep your feet planted on the ground.
I wanted to share this with you and to your fellow graduates:
Today as we approach the end your life as a high school student, I know you are so excited about starting college and I’m excited for you. There are some things I need to tell you, some advice I need to give you before you embark on this important journey. I’ve been there and I know both the wonder and peril this transition will bring to you.
Here’s the short list:
1. To your own self – be true. You will be bombarded by pressure to “fit in”. Conformity is a good thing and a bad thing. We all want to fit in. We all want a sense of belonging. The challenge will be to figure out what’s good and what’s not so good. Good is making friends and sharing experiences, exploring your ideals and ideas, learning how to express yourself and interact with others. The not so good is abandoning your values and ideals in order to be more like those who don’t always have your best interests at heart. These are the people to watch out for. Don’t pander to these people. Stay true to yourself.
2. Character is what you are when you are all alone and nobody is looking. Character is not just a ‘trait of the month’ to study in college. Character will determine much in your life from the grades you bring home, the job you will land, the college you’ll attend, the friends you will keep, the career you’ll embark upon. Character is what will stare back at you from the mirror. Do much to build, develop and nurture your character.
3. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for others. You will meet all kinds of new people in college. Some will be bullies. Some will be victims. Don’t be either. If you find yourself being bullied – fight back! That is not to say you should resort to physical confrontations (although if someone is attacking you physically – you must defend yourself). Bullies make themselves feel better by tearing others down. They usually do it under a cloak of secrecy. Expose the bullies and stop the bullying. It sounds simple but I know that no one wants to be known as a snitch. Expose the bully = stop the bully. It is that simple! When you see someone else being bullied you must stand up for them if even if they aren’t standing up for themselves. If you don’t, they will continue to be victims and you become part of the problem rather than a part of the solution.
4. Be open to new friends and experiences. Just watch out for experiences that compromise your values and have potential to negatively impact your life. Your new friends may try to gauge your “coolness” by your willingness to experiment, there is nothing cool about addiction, overdoses or brain damage. Remember the people you meet will not always have your best interests in mind. If someone wants you to try something that you know will harm you or you know is wrong – they are not a friend. Real friends don’t encourage friends to engage in self-destructive activities.
5. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to grow up. You are only young for a fraction of your life and you will be an adult for a very, very long time. Enjoy being a teenager and all the wonder and magic that goes along with it. You’ll have the rest of your life to be a grown up and it’s not always fun, glamorous or exciting as you may think it is. The older you get the more responsibilities you’ll have and the fun, glamour and excitement will seem to fall more and more by the wayside. Enjoy this time. Enjoy living in this moment because too soon you will have to grow up and these moments will not return.
6. The best things in life aren’t things at all. They are experiences, memories, and simple pleasures. You may feel that you just can not live without the designer clothing, the latest hair style and the latest technologies but you can and sometimes you should. No designer has ever captured the absolute magic of a beachside sunset, the softness of a kitten’s fur or the healing and energizing power of a simple hug from someone dear to you. Take time to observe and enjoy simple pleasures. You will find them more satisfying, more lasting and more meaningful than anything you’ll ever find at the mall.
7. Be kind and generous to others. Believe it or not, you live better than two thirds of the world’s population. Share yourself, your things and your time with those who may be less fortunate. Share your talents to the world—everyone wants to be inspired! You can’t always judge people by what you see on the outside. Somewhere in your new school there will be someone who is shy, awkward and lonely. You may not know this now, but you have the power to make a huge difference in this person’s life just by befriending them. It will cost you nothing to make it a point to greet this person, invite them to join your lunch group, or help them find their way to class. Make a difference in other’s lives, the rewards will return to you again and again. This shy, awkward, lonely kid may very well grow up to develop new technologies, be president or cure cancer. You just never know – so make it a point to reach out and include others in your life and activities.
8. Be responsible, trustworthy and sincere. The best way to have a friend is to be one. Be the kind of person who makes others feel better about themselves whenever they are in your company. Be loyal and faithful to those who have been loyal and faithful to you. Live by the golden rule of treating others the way you like to be treated.
9. Strive to look for the best in others and to always give the best of yourself in your school work, friendships, hobbies and activities. Shun mediocrity in yourself and put your best foot forward in all that you do. There is no disgrace in getting Cs and Ds as long as you honestly give your subjects your best effort. Train yourself not to say “that’s fine” instead “that’s awesome!” Do more than is expected of you. You’ll find that the extra effort will do much to help you master your subjects and later on this habit will open many doors for you. Remember focus, concentrate and stay on task!
10. Remember, no matter what – I will always love you. There is nothing that you can do to ever change that. There is no topic that you can not discuss with me. Believe it or not, I was once young too. I know it isn’t easy and I will help you over the hurdles if you will let me. I’ll nudge you along when you need it and we’ll marvel together at all the new experiences that I know await you.
Your dad and I are excited for your first day at the University! YAAAAAAAAZ!