Saturday, 16 May 2009

My Commencement Speech

This is the season of commencement speeches. I will admit...though with three associate degrees and two bachelor degrees....I've never been to a graduation ceremony except high school. Being in the military and getting credits after I left a base....kinda left me in left field. So I never got to hear a real speech. I have sat and watched a couple of speeches via the internet that Bush, Clinton and now Obama have given. I've come to the conclusion that I could probably write a pretty damn good commencement speech...short naturally....which might be appreciated. So I sat and wrote 'my' speech....which I would give....although likely never to happen.

Today, one world ends and one world begins. Whatever you learned....probably has little to less value than you'd like to think. This is the sad story of college and what people think.

There should be wisdom dished out you. There should have been great moments of brilliance that captivated your mind and made you think for a few brief moments. Its kinda like practicing for something but not knowing what that something really is.

You should have learned selflessness....but it's doubtful you caught that little moment.

You should have learned honesty and value....but it's doubtful that the university got around to that lesson.

You should have learned courage....but that wasn't exactly a class that you could get graded in.

You should have learned respect....but the professor keyed in on disrespect and you got graded for what you wrote on that topic.

You should have learned teamwork...but there isn't a single class to teach that unless you counted that volleyball class that you pretended to attend but never did.

You should have learned eye-to-eye contact...but there's not a single professor in the joint who wants to teach something like that.

You should have learned compassion but the one hour that they did offer on the topic...you were mostly wasted from a good evening of partying.

You should have learned forgiveness....but that was during homecoming week and you were mostly hanging out with the drunks in your dorm.

You should have learned tolerance and calmness...but the leadership class mostly dealt with intolerance and reactionary skills.

You should have learned a purpose in life....but the professor was a crazy guy who kept referring to all the bad things that occur to you in life.

So frankly, you are standing here with a polished scorecard and the university folks kindly thank you and your folks for the $38,000 that you helped to dump into the school and the other $44,000 that you pumped into the local economy around the school, and the $8,000 that you gave to the beer and alcohol companies of the local area. Oh, and lets not forget the $5,000 that you gave for sales taxes, gas taxes and alcohol taxes over the past four years.

So in this vast wasteland of knowledge...let me give one single bit of knowledge that you might find of value one day. Its a quote from Shakespeare.

There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads onto fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shadows, and in miseries.
As you stand there waiting on something to happen...and it happens...don't just stand there and let the opportunity go. If you seize the moment...ever how difficult and unfair the chance might be....it will lead onto other opportunities. If you continue to sit there....in the shadows....you will simply count up your miseries in years to come and lust for a dream that will never come.

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