It’s the season of high school and college graduations. Graduating high school is like the end of childhood, and finishing college is like the beginning of adulthood. That makes those years between, spent in college, a sort of transitional time — you’re not a child, and not yet a grownup. To the class of 2014 college graduates, welcome to your new, independent, responsible life.
The future is bright when you’re a young adult. Until now, everything has always been all about you — educating you, nurturing you, protecting you, facilitating you. And now you’re ready to join or even conquer the big world and make your way.
Few people are more grateful for and aware of the bounty that results from a college education than those in the immigrant community, many of whom come from much less bountiful parts of the world, brought or sent here by parents and relatives who sacrificed a lot for them.
There is much to be said for pursuing your dreams and becoming successful. It’s what everybody wants for you. Still, you are not the end product in this cycle of life — more people are always coming up after you, hoping for the same chances that you got. It is never too soon in your young life to use your gifts and talents to start giving back to your community. This is an act of gratitude — when the things you do serve in some small or big way to benefit somebody less fortunate than you, or to make the world better for future generations.
Congratulations to the class of 2014. The fact that you put in the years of hard work and earned your diploma is an act of gratitude in itself. Don’t stop there. You have achieved the means to survive, live well, and do great things, and time is on your side. It might just be that your most rewarding use of it will be in service to others. (end)