This speech was delivered to the 1996 class at Lexington Christian Academy.
WE’RE DONE! WE’RE ALL DONE WITH HIGH SCHOOL! (Let’s give THANKS!) [cheer, and wait for it to quiet down quite a bit] But now what? Where to now? In the words of Microsoft, “Where do we want to go today?”
We certainly have quite a number of options in this class. Our class can boast that we are going to an unprecedented variety of colleges next year. From schools far away on the West Coast to schools on the East Coast to schools close by, our class is going a lot of different places. (Even Harvard. [shudder])
Academically, we are headed a lot of different places as well. Our class can boast that it has experts in music, english, history, computers, languages, art, and drama. We have stars in every sport and terrific student leaders. Even chaplains who can freestyle! And all of us are headed to college, something quite uncommon even in small schools. So on the outside at least, we are all headed towards excellence.
But there is more to life than just outsides. Where are our insides headed? Are we really headed where we want? Or is it just where our parents want us to go? Is it because we don’t think that we’d be good at other things?
It is of vital importance that each one of us step back periodically and look at him or her self . “Is this really where I want to be now? Am I headed in a direction that I want to be going?” If it is, then I congratulate you and applaud your work. I hope that those around you will support you in obtaining your goals and realizing your vision. Unfortunately, our goals tend to change as we ourselves change — we mature as we experience the world, and realize new things about ourselves as we fit into the world. This is natural…and good. We need to look inward to find out who we are. Based on this, our goals will change. We need to recognize these changes then, and modify our actions accordingly.
When we are examining who we are, we need to keep ourselves from closing doors that might lead to self-fulfillment. Let’s explore all of our options. We should actively seek out subjects in which we are ignorant, and pursue them — to explore the world of knowledge. Let’s take those courses we never imagined taking: Chinese Philosophy, Modern Dance, European Politics, or Linear Algebra. I am not saying that we should continually seek out courses in fields that we definitely dislike, but instead I am suggesting that we go and seek out whole new platforms of knowledge that are new to us. We should never be afraid to discover something about ourselves. A broad knowledge of the world will do us well in terms of understanding ourselves and others.
In today’s dynamic job market, we may have to make job changes; not only between companies, but between subjects. I have heard stories of English teachers becoming electronic technicians. At the same time, I think that we should seek out a few key speicialties — specific things that we really enjoy doing. We need to study and practice these specialties to their limit, to the bounds of what is known. Doing this, we find ourselves in a position to expand this boundary — to go beyond where any human has gone before. Forget Star Trek. There are many more frontiers than space.
At the risk of sounding like an Army recruiting officer, we should be all that we can be…in all fields. In history, sports, science, medicine, music, education, languages, art, and other things we should strive to set goals from our dreams, and then struggle with all that we’ve got to make that dream come true. Just wishing on a little star will not bring us personal fulfillment. It takes gusto to live your dreams to their fullest.
And beyond all of this, we need friends to get where we are going. On this travelling analogy, friends are our gasoline. We need them to make it from point A to point B. We need male friends, female friends, significant others, parents, and God to get where we want to go. We may be strong by ourselves, but we are forty times stronger with the strength of heaven and earth behind us. Without friends, life is bleak and bland. Living takes on a whole new quality when you have a buddy to share a load with. While I’m sure that many of us have had good friends at LCA, let’s remember the importance of friends as we go to college next year. Let’s find friends. And not just any friends, but good, strong friends. High octane, Ultra94 friends. The kind of friends that can love us, support us, guide us, and give us the strength to do what is beyond us. It is friends like these that make the world tick, that make life enjoyable, that give life depth, and that bring a sunshine to a cloudy day. And while we are busy finding friends, let’s not forget to try and be the best friends we can be to others.
And that’s my speech. If you were sleeping, the moral of the story is that you should try random courses, expand yourself in fields that you enjoy, and find friends to help you realize your dreams. Enjoy college, and have a nice life.