It's been a while, I know. We graduated two months ago, and for some reason that feels like a lifetime ago. It's been a while since I've written a piece in which at least one of you played a important part. Since graduating, many of us have started forming our lives into what we want them to look like. We've gotten jobs, traveled a bit, and, for some, have seen each other for what may be the last time for a while.
I don't know what the next year has in store for you. I don't know if I'm going to see any of you again. I don't know a lot of things. But there are a few things I know for sure, and there are a few things I wanted to let you know. Take this as my final piece of knowledge and advice I can give you:
To the future teachers, remember kindness. Remember the teachers you've had that impacted your life. Remember to teach love and peace. Teach your students writing, and teach them empathy. Teach them math, and teach them joy. Teach them to remember their worth, and teach them to believe in themselves. Remember that no matter how stressed, or tired, or angry with the system you may get, you are doing a good thing. You are instructing the next generations. You are impacting what our world could look like. Take that seriously, but every so often don't forget to take a step back and look at your students. Look at their faces- how full of ideas they are. Cultivate a child's joy, and don't lose your own joyful spirit. You are going to be the teacher someone remembers.
To the future doctors and nurses, I don't know how you do it. I have already seen you studying for these upcoming years, and I have no doubt in my mind that you will get there. You will be the person people go to when the worst happens (though some may be there for the best moments life has to offer). Please do not be afraid. Please do not forget to breathe in the wake of disaster. Please always remember why you started, and where you want to end up. You want to help people, and I admire that greatly. You are capable.
To the future entrepreneurs, I believe in you. You have ideas worth sharing, and you have ideas that no one else has. I've seen you present speeches and tell stories. I've witnessed your imaginations in action. Put it to good work and I know you will end up where you want to. I know things won't always be perfect or go according to plan, but I also know that you have the courage, the heart, and the spirit to keep going after what you want even when it's hard. You are a storyteller, use those stories for good. Use them to create the businesses we need. Your ideas can change the world.
To the artists, I hope to see you soon. Whether you draw, or paint, or write, or act, you are very talented. I've seen you share your work, no matter how afraid you may have been. I've watched you grow in how you express yourselves, and I know that growth will only continue. Use your art (whatever it may be) to scream out your anger, cry out your sadness, and dance out your happiness. Remember that we are all artists, no matter what our medium may be. If you make music, use the instruments and melodies to reach the deepest parts of people's souls. Music can do that in a way nothing else can. If you write, remember that dialogue is also music. If you draw, remember that there is beauty and grace in everything. Artists, don't let yourself get burned out. Art is living, and there is no easy way to put pain and heartache into something beautiful without reliving it again and again. Take time for yourself, and remember to take a step back to view things from every angle. There may be something magical just around the corner. You are the magic in this world.
To the undecideds, you are braver than I will ever be. Keep going into the unknown. Trust yourself. Trust that you know what you want, and trust that even if you aren't completely sure of even that, you will eventually find your place. Think of a time when you were unsure, and think of the time right after that when everything became what it was always supposed to be. That will happen again- always remember that. Whether you become a healer, a fighter, a thinker, or an explorer, keep believing that you will fall into the right things. The best parts of this world were created by those who were unsure. You are courageous.
To all of you, I hope I will never forget you. High school had it's many ups and downs. There were moments when I wanted to leave, but there were certainly moments where I wanted time to stop so I could stay in moments forever. In our time together, we got lost in our purposes and got lost of purpose. We ran miles and lost battles. We loved and fought and laughed and cried. I loved spending my last two years of high school with all of you, and I honestly can't wait to see what you all do with your lives.
When you think you're at the end of your road, look up and believe that there is something better out there. When you feel that you've drifted off to far, look down and let your fears settle. Always find things to be thankful for, and cry when you need to (instead of waiting until your Parent Tribute so you sob through the entire thing and no one knows what you're saying... or the equivalent of that).
Keep getting lost. Keep doing what you know is the right thing to do. Keep finding the funny side of every story. Keep changing your minds. Keep bravery in your left pocket and kindness in your right. Keep your head up. Don't listen to the people who say you can't do whatever it is that you want to do most. Remember that fear is a liar, and remember that you are all so brave. Remember that there is a time and a season for everything, and you can go at your own pace. You are loved.
I love you. Thank you for everything.