You know sometimes past Mariah says exactly what present Mariah needs to hear. After a friend of mine asked me about my commencement address, I looked it up and read it over. I cringed at points, remembering how quickly I had to write it in the midst of my final high school finals. But I got to the final paragraphs and something clicked. I was an ambitious high school student. I worked hard. That semester was no different. Now, I sometimes feel like I am losing that identity. This is the year of questioning- Why am I doing this? What goal is this education pointing me towards? Where the heck am I going? Turns out, a more optimistic me wondered similar things two years ago. Here is what she had to say:
As we finish high school, we enter a world of uncertainty. Graduation speeches often give advice on how to handle this time of change. What’s ironic about this is that I have no more authority to be spreading words of wisdom for the rest of your lives than any of you do. In fact, unlike many of you, I do not have a specific career plan. I have ideas of what I like and that’s about all right now. My main idea is that success will probably involve hard work, late nights, and tears of procrastination. But all that stuff I learned in high school. However, I’m here tonight to tell you that not knowing is okay… that much I know for sure. Important, smart people agree with me too, which is always comforting. David Brooks, who writes a column for the New York Times, says that advising young graduates to look inside and find their passion and then pursue their dreams isn’t the right answer. It is not that you should not pursue your dreams. It is that at our age, most people are still figuring out who they are, and that a successful, fulfilling path doesn’t necessarily come from introspection. He says, “Most successful young people don’t look inside and then plan a life. They look outside and find a problem, which summons their life.” And it’s important to note that the world in which we will be looking for our direction is an uncertain one. It seems many of us will be uncertain people in an uncertain world. And that is scary. But uncertainty is opportunity. Because the world is uncertain, careers are changing in the blink of an eye. If you are completely sure about what you want for your future, you might miss out on something that was not even there when you made your plan. And for those of you who are certain, well, be prepared, a lot of you will change your minds. This isn’t a bad thing. We are versatile enough to successfully face anything that the uncertainty of life sends our way. But just because we are embracing uncertainty does not mean that even for a second, we can ever slow down. Well, besides today. Enjoy today. But after today, we must keep moving, as the world keeps moving, because even if we don’t know exactly where we’ll end up doesn’t mean we don’t have to work hard to get there. Every opportunity in life will require someone who works hard, someone willing to learn, and someone who moves at the pace of our world. And that’s fast. So keep moving fast, Farmington High School. We’ve come this far, and no matter where we go next we’ve got to look good when we get there.
I'll keep moving fast. And someday I'll get there. And darn right I'm going to look good.