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Wed, July 15

Editorial: Some advice to help graduates move forward

Sen. John  McCain, R-Arizona, delivers the keynote address during the the Columbia College commencement, Tuesday, May 16, 2006, in New York. McCain defended his support for the Iraq war in a commencement speech Tuesday at Columbia University that drew more cheers than boos. McCain, a Republican widely thought to be considering presidential run in 2008, reaffirmed his belief that the Iraq conflict was just but encouraged detractors to speak their minds and argue vigorously for their position. (Mary Altaffer/AP, file)

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, delivers the keynote address during the the Columbia College commencement, Tuesday, May 16, 2006, in New York. McCain defended his support for the Iraq war in a commencement speech Tuesday at Columbia University that drew more cheers than boos. McCain, a Republican widely thought to be considering presidential run in 2008, reaffirmed his belief that the Iraq conflict was just but encouraged detractors to speak their minds and argue vigorously for their position. (Mary Altaffer/AP, file)

Unlike most graduates before them, the Class of 2020 truly is entering a world of the unknown. A worldwide pandemic has made sure of that, and then some.

Although original graduation dates having come and gone, local school districts have scheduled tentative dates this summer to celebrate their seniors.

Hopefully, these graduates are given the sendoff they deserve, but with the unknowns surrounding COVID-19 (coronavirus), nothing is for sure these days.

With that, the Courier editorial board thought it would be a perfect time to offer some encouragement, and perhaps share a few pieces of advice from past commencement speeches by well-known people.

Steve Jobs, 2005: “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

President Ronald Reagan, 1982: “Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with conflict by peaceful means.”

Meryl Streep, 2005: “This is your time and it feels normal to you but really there is no normal. There’s only change, and resistance to it and then more change.”

Senator John McCain, 2005: “It is your character, and your character alone, that will make your life happy or unhappy. That is all that really passes for destiny. And you choose it. No one else can give it to you or deny it to you. No rival can steal it from you. And no friend can give it to you. Others can encourage you to make the right choices or discourage you. But you choose.”

Conan O’Brien, 2011: “There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized. Today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality … Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.”

Senator Mitt Romney, 2015: “Failures aren’t fun, but they are inevitable. More importantly, failures don’t have to define who you are.”

Oprah Winfrey, 2013: “Learn from every mistake because every experience, encounter, and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are. And then figure out what is the next right move. And the key to life is to develop an internal moral, emotional G.P.S. that can tell you which way to go.”

President Barack Obama, 2016: “You have to go through life with more than just passion for change; you need a strategy. I’ll repeat that. I want you to have passion, but you have to have a strategy. Not just awareness, but action. Not just hashtags, but votes.”

Ellen DeGeneres, 2009: “For me, the most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity and not to give into peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not, to live your life as an honest and compassionate person, to contribute in some way.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren, 2016: “Knowing who you are will help you when it’s time to fight. Fight for the job you want, fight for the people who mean the most to you and fight for the kind of world you want to live in. It will help when people say that’s impossible or you can’t do that. Look, if you take the unexpected opportunities when they come up, if you know yourself, and if you fight for what you believe in, I can promise that you will live a life that is rich with meaning.”

The Courier encourages each local senior in the Class of 2020 to realize all the effort put in to arrive at this point in your life, and remember that throughout your personal journey, there were bumps in the road, as there are now with COVID-19.

With each test you passed, you became stronger. You will pass this test, too. And you will become stronger for it.

Lastly, be sure to thank the people who helped you along the way. You would be nowhere without them. It’s time to move on to bigger and better things, so go forward confidently in the direction of your dreams. Don’t be afraid to live the life you’ve imagined.

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