This year, my senior AP Language and Composition class gave a final project presentation called “My Year”. During that presentation, not only did they discuss everything they’ve learned in my class throughout the year, but they also talked about all they accomplished as a senior in high school, including their college aspirations and/or future plans.
On the last day of school, I gave my own presentation. It was called “My Year(s)”. I wanted to leave them with some things I’ve learned (and am still learning) during my 41 years of life. It was my last opportunity to follow through with my promise to “love them enough never to leave them the same.”
Here are the talking points of that presentation (with links to posts about those same topics):
- Worry is like a rocking chair. No matter how much you do it, it never gets you anywhere.
- I spend a lot of years worrying someone in my family would die of cancer. It happened and worry didn’t prevent me or protect me from it.
- We average 6.5 years of our lives worrying. Waste. Of. Time. Imagine all the things you could do instead.
- We can’t choose what happens to us, but we CAN choose how we respond.
- You don’t need a boyfriend or girlfriend to have worth. No one completes you.
- Your identity is not determined by a relationship. Find out who you are, be okay with who you are, and then you can find someone to love.
- Sex does not equal love. Anyone who tells you that doesn’t really love you.
- The right person is worth waiting for. Don’t settle just because you’re afraid of being alone.
On “The Five”:
- I always have up to five people in my life whose opinions really matter to me.
- When someone says something about me, I ask one of my five.
- If it’s stupid gossip, I trust my five to tell me.
- If it’s truth, I trust my five to tell me in a loving way how I can be better.
- If it doesn’t come from one of my five, it just doesn’t really matter. But I choose very wisely the people I let into my inner circle because those people help me determine how I see life and how life sees me.
- Your worth is not determined by what you do, who you love, or how successful you are.
- If you find worth in those things, then you will not be able to handle failure.
- It is not IF you will fail, but WHEN. Be ready to embrace it and pick yourself back up. Failure does not define you, but how you respond could determine what happens next.
- Be comfortable in your own skin before you improve it. Improvement is good, it is growth, but first love yourself.
- Passion is contagious. Listening will get you friends, jobs, and connections. Caring about people and showing empathy will help you understand the world. Doing something that scares you will bring you adventure.
- Expectations ruin friendships.
- Worry more about the friend you can be than what your friends do for you.
- Have expectancy in relationships. Show grace.
- Be careful with credit cards and money.
- Embrace your freedom but don’t waste it on stuff that could ruin your future.
- Take every opportunity to glean from the amazing people you’ll meet and learn from them.
- Failure will happen – know it and grow from it.
- Every day you are offered a plate. That plate is opportunity. You can’t choose what happens to you, but you CAN choose how you respond to it.
- Everything is about perspective and how you CHOOSE to see things.
- Today is the best day ever – because if today were my last day, I would want it to be my best day. Therefore, today is the best day ever.
There is so much more I wanted to say, but regardless, I want to live these words for my students, preaching to myself as much as I share these words with them. It is an honor to watch them grow, learn, and I am privileged to learn as much from them as they do from me.
Congratulations, Class of 2017 – and all the years beyond. I will always be one of your biggest fans.