Dear Class Of 2016 or Whenever

 

I haven’t written is quite some time and this is bound to be a little rusty, but I am gonna try. Those of you who read my blogs previously know that some of my last posts were over a year ago when my parent’s home burned down. Sadly, I haven’t had any desire to use my words since. I’m not sure if I’m totally ready now, but I’m going to try to see where it takes me.

I was looking at graduation pictures on Facebook and I was admiring these young individuals. I was thinking how they probably believe that they have their whole life ahead of them. I started to think back to when I was graduating and how I thought the world was mine, or at least could be, if I wanted.

All of these graduation pictures and memories got me thinking of how much I’d love to give a commencement speech someday.  What an honor! Well, I’m not famous and never will be, I also am not a scholar, in fact I spelled scholar wrong before spell check. So my chances of some educational institution requesting my words of wisdom to grace the ears of their graduating class… is less than zero. So I thought I’d write my commencement speech instead…. To the graduating class of  2016 or whenever.

Dear Class of 2016 or Whenever,

What an honor it is to stand before you today as you embark on a new journey. You have all worked so hard to achieve such an accomplishment that should not be taken lightly. I stood in your shoes before and my eyes were filled with dreams and goals and excitement. I too was ready to take on the world.

Since that day over a decade ago, our world has become a very different place. So many things have changed socially, technologically, environmentally… Your world is a very different world than the world I walked out into, but make no mistakes, it is still your world for the taking.

You all have the chance to make this world something amazing. You all have the opportunity to make a change. You will leave here with a fire inside of you or with a black hole. Some of you will challenge yourselves and some of you will just get by.

For those of you that choose to challenge, I implore you to challenge not only yourself but someone else. We are all on this earth for a reason. Each one of us has a God-given gift. Even the worst of us, has something to offer if we can just find it. The difficulty is working together to see each other’s gifts. My gift may or may not be words, but without each of you sitting here to listen, there is no gift at all. I need you, just as you will need someone else. Don’t ever forget that.

For those of you that will just get by, I tell you that you are not alone. Even if you don’t set out to just get by, and it happens by mistake, know that it can happen to the best of us. This life is hard and it will take everything that you have. Blood, sweat and tears is not a joke. Life will literally demand each of those and more as payment for just breathing some days. My advice to you, is find one of those challengers. Become their friend, spend time with them. Let their fire slowly spark yours. You too have that God-given gift, sometimes we just need help finding it.

As much as times may have changed from my day in that cap and gown untill today, I will tell you that some things will never change. A quote from my dad, who is not famous either, “You get nothing for nothing”.

Hear those words. You Get Nothing For Nothing. Let them rest inside of your head. Repeat them over and over as my Dad did. I thought that if I heard that phrase one more time growing up, I’d lose my mind. Here I am saying it to you.

These five words will relate to everything that you will do for the rest of your life. Yes, five words from my nobody Dad to his nobody daughter that I am sharing with you today. If you get anything out of this speech at all, get this. You Get Nothing For Nothing.

If you give no effort, in your education you will get nothing out of it.

If you give no compassion, you will get none in return

If you give no faith, you will get no peace.

If you give no work, you will get no success.

If you give no understanding, you will get misunderstood.

If you give no love, you will get no love.

If you give no forgiveness, you will get no grace.

If you give nothing, you will get nothing.

There is a price on everything in this world. More so today than ever. You will never get something for nothing. If it is free, it is garbage or it will be in a week. Nothing is given away anymore, and I’m not sure if it ever was. Promotions come at a cost, love comes at a cost, dreams come at a cost. Life comes at a cost. Everything costs something. Remember that, save up and give everything you can to get what you want, but don’t ever expect that it will come to you for free. Don’t ever think that you deserve something that you didn’t bust your ass to get. You Get Nothing For Nothing.

This world is yours. It is ours. Make it the place that you dream that it can be. Work hard and fight for each other. Fight for everyone. Give all that you have and receive all that the world has to offer. Remember that you deserve nothing, but can earn anything! My best to you Class of 2016 or Whenever!

Love,

Cherise