Thursday, April 19, 2012
Words of Advice for Graduates
One of the great traditions in the Department in which I work is that we have an end of term party for our seniors. At the party each professor is asked to say a few words of advice for our graduates. Here is my speech this term...
My wish for you all post-graduation is to be happy. The question is; how does one get to happy? Here is my personal take on it. Be guided by the three L's: 1) Live; 2) Laugh; and 3) Love.
So many people get themselves into a lifestyle of go to work, come home watch TV, go to sleep wake up got to work, come home and watch TV. While that may be life - that is not living. Challenge yourself to constantly grow, develop and flourish. Look in the mirror and each morning and ask yourself two questions, "How am I going to become a better person today?" and "How am I going to make the world a better place today?" If you live by those two question, you will find your life worth living.
In the so-called real world, you are about to live a life full of absurdities. You will have plenty of tests (none of which you will have studied for) and some definite times when life is not going to go according to plan. Being blunt, life will suck at times. The key to getting out of these situations however; is to have a positive outlook. It is to look for the good in a situation. It is to accept and at times forgive. You are in control of your own emotions - you can choose to be defeated and thus live miserably or you can choose to look forward and take a work ethic and diligence to make things better for yourself and those around you. As U2 once said aptly in one of my favorite lyrics of all time, "don't let the bastards drag you down." There is nothing like having the last laugh when others try to drag you down and they realize that it isn't going to happen.
The most important ingredient to happiness is love. I am a true believer that the more people you can honestly say you like and respect, the happier you will be. Love means putting yourself out there and sometimes paying a heavy price for doing so but the cost really does outweigh the benefits. The key to love is to first like and respect yourself. You need to be able to look at the person in the glass and admire the individual staring back. You cannot lie to the person in the glass, they know the truth. They know your actions and they know your heart. They know if you are living by your morals and beliefs or if you are selling out your soul. True love comes for honesty, respect and dignity. If you show people those, plenty will come to love you and you will come to love them. This my friends, will lead to happiness.
So in conclusion, please remember that life is a journey and not a destination. Enjoy the trip - it can be an amazing and rewarding one if you do the things necessary to make it so.