In the 8th grade, my classmates and I had the grand opportunity to write graduation speeches, whether or not we were going to give them during the ceremony. Keep that in mind while reading this post.
I don't think I've changed much ideal-wise in the 10 years between then and now. So when Taylor approached me with the topic of "glass half full / glass half empty", it wasn't difficult to remember the GRANDEST (/s) time of my life and the seedlings of wisdom that came with it.
However, I had the unfortunate experience of getting to re-read what I wrote back then and, let me tell you right now, I cannot attest to its quality. But my laziness is overriding my embarrassment so you get to read the musings of a thirteen-year-old who must've imagined high school to be the biggest hurdle in one's life. So without further ado... I've omitted nothing. Enjoy?
The Infinite Rooma graduation speech by Brian Zhang
No matter where you end up in life, there are you ups, and then there are your downs. Take chances in remembering these events, for they will be your key to the future. Don't ignore them, because they are your life, and ignoring them would be neglecting your story, your song, or your picture. Learn from every mistake you've ever made, and make yourself better. Keep it simple; there's no point in complicating things that have obvious solutions. And remember, you are who you are, no matter how hard you try to change that.
Make it your own—this is your time to show what you are made of. It's your chance to show the world, and yourself, who you are. It's your chance to show others that you are capable of doing whatever you do, and you are able to share the gift with others. Just remember that you are no more important than the person sitting across or in front of you, no matter what first impressions say. You are you, and no one can change that, just like how that one person who doesn't seem able to accomplish anything is himself or herself. He or she will most likely end up doing something great.
Focus—yes, parties are fun, and yes, weekends are supposed to be free, but that isn't a reason to stay off your studies. Be able to control that feeling you get when you want to go somewhere if you know you have homework or a test the next day. School is an important part of life, no matter how boring it may be. Study before you have a test, but not the day before. Give yourself the time to be able to study right after you learn something. Don't understand the chapter? Read it again. Don't go on internet sites in hopes of getting a full synopsis of a chapter of a book and hope to be able to understand every part of it, because you're not going to.
Have fun—after you're done studying, make sure you have at least 1 to 2 hours of leisure time. Do something you're interest in, such as sports or reading. Control that urge you have to watch TV by going outside to play catch. Read a book that isn't part of the school curriculum, go shopping, whatever you want, but limit your time with the electronics. It's important to have time to do what you want.
Have good relationships—if there is one thing you should get from school, it should be friends. Not people that bully you or ignore you, but true friends that are people that will pick you up when you fall. They are the people that will stic with you every step of you life. They are the people that will be there for you when you need it most. In them you will find that they will help you, even if it means sacrificing themselves. They are the people that you hope you can be to them.
Finally, you should have experiences—do whatever happens in school, whether it is the Art Club, the Band, auditioning for the school play, or even several sports teams. If you are able to join whatever you like, you will eventually have experiences that you can share to your children and to your children's children, creating a legacy and a story for your family. And don't just experience it; live it. Take every moment of your life and take what you can from it. Take risks. Pass it on; share with the world what you have learned. Be someone that people will look up to as a role model.
Throughout your life, I hope you are able to find whatever it is you may be looking for, and have whatever you are looking for find you. It is never too late to stop searching. Look for your future in every corner, and make sure it is what you would enjoy. Don't deny the fact that something is unfair, because something that is unfair for you may be fair to someone else, and vice versa. Respect everyone you meet, don't hate someone because of stereotypes. Don't look for true knowledge, for, "It is only after you acknowledge that you know nothing, that you truly know everything," (Socrates). And finally, try something new every time your life permits. Remember: you have an infinite room to fill.
If you made it to the end, then I have to congratulate you because, if it weren't for me having to retype the entire thing, I never would've made it myself. Barring the paragraphs talking about academics, I'd say everything is pretty true still today. Interesting, huh?
I regret everything.
// Brian Zhang, 2016