Thursday, June 01, 2006

Walk unafraid

I want to send a big congratulations out to the students who are graduating tonight.

I graduated from high school 15 years ago tomorrow, on June 2, 1991. (Holy crap. I'm all old and stuff.) In a lot of ways, I am very jealous of those of you who are starting the big journey. I liked my high school years, entirely because of my friends, but I was also very eager to move on toward new horizons.

If I were giving advice or delivering a speech, here are some things I might say:
  • Heed the cheesey words of Lord Chesterfield: "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." Examine new ideas. Accept new people. Question what you believe and why you believe it.
  • On a less esoteric/more practical note: Study abroad. Take advantage of this opportunity you will have in college. It is one of the best choices I ever made.
  • Be sure to have fun in college, too. Social growth is one of the best parts of the whole deal, after all.
And if I were actually giving a speech, I might want to quote some song lyrics; I would probably choose "Walk Unafraid" by R.E.M.:
Everyone walks the same,
Expecting me to step the narrow path they've laid.
They claim to walk unafraid--
I'll be clumsy instead,
Hold my "Love or leave me" high.

They say "keep within the boundaries if you want to play,"
say "contradiction only makes it harder."
How can I be what I want to be?
When all I want to do is
strip away these stilled constraints
and crush this charade,
shred this sad masquerade.
I don't need no persuading
I'll trip, fall, pick myself up and
Walk unafraid.
I'll be clumsy instead,
Hold my "Love me or leave me" high.
I love this song because it sums up what I touched on earlier: Challenge your comfort zone. Myopia will get you nothing but glasses.

Most importantly, try to make a difference of some kind in the world. Many of you are the reason I miss teaching right now and why I know I will always be a teacher. And I hope you will keep me posted about your adventures (and you will continue to stay in touch through the blog). But I know that you will continue to make me proud.


But I still don't approve of a nuclear annihilation-themed song as your class song.

PS 1 --
I'm taking a blog break for about a week, but if I plan some kind of get-together in Brainerd, I'll post it here.

PS 2 -- To my non-Minnesota blog readers: Sorry for the non-relatable material. I'll be back soon!


At 1:37 PM, Blogger Serenity Now! posited...

John, it's totally relatable at every age. Your words and wisdom can apply to all ages. Each day is a new beginning and we should make the most of it. You don't have to be 18 to appreciate that. Hell, most of us don't learn that until much, much later.

Have a groovy vacation! I'll miss reading your blog.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger constant_k posited...

Damn, now we of '07 need to get an equally great nuclear holocaust related song for our class song.

(Nothing But) Flowers by Talking Heads is all I can think of right now. Maybe some Devo...

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Houley posited...

Hmm. I hope you'll read my valedictory (saludatory? who knows, our class rank is messed up, but whatever) speech, I'm posting it asap after graduation.

I think you'll like it.

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Johnny V posited...

Rock the boat, indeed.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Kid C posited...

The (nuclear holocaust related) class song of 2007? "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades"

At 12:40 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

"99 Luftballons"

At 12:48 AM, Blogger hannah posited...

i know all the words to the english version. i used to know all the words to the german version too.... but y'know, too much pot and stuff.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger LogGamer posited...

Don't worry Wang, as long as Kara keeps her word I'll toss in some of your words of wisdom in my speech next year. That is, unless something equally as messed up as this years GPA happens in which case I'll try to convince Paige to talk about it.

I'll also talk to class cabinet, we must keep the nuclear-holocaust tradition alive!

At 11:16 PM, Blogger constant_k posited...

Don't count your chickens before they hatch, logan...

My speech (should I be selected to deliver one) will be JFK's inauguaral, word for word, but with "America" and "your country" replaced with "BHS" and "your high school." And there will be beachballs thrown from the podium.

Logan, you should just arrange a skit instead of a speech. Do "Waiting for Godot" or something. Just copy paste Houle's speech to submit to Heise for approval, then go wild on your actualy speech.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Hillstorm posited...

Who is in our top ten class rank?

At 11:21 PM, Blogger Sherlock posited...

I'm pretty sure I'm like 69. I should try harder.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger Kara posited...

Sweet, I like Max's idea. Logan, let's both give up the rights to the speech and give it to Max. I want beach balls coming from the podium.

Although, as much as I enjoyed the speeches this year, I'd really prefer to have a touch of humor mixed in with sound advice and less deeper meaning and simply say what you mean and mean what you say. Deep intellectual speeches really aren't my cup of tea.

Ashley, I'm not sure of the current top 10, but you're in there somewhere. Just ask Linda, she'll tell you.


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