Graduation Speech – Emma Calhoun

Today I don’t want to generalize my high school experience and talk about the same things countless others have talked about before. I want for each of our high school experiences, filled with challenges, achievements, frustration, laughter, broken hearts and newfound love to remain personal and meaningful because nothing I could ever say to you today would be able to capture everyone’s time at North Meck.

While I am expected to give you a 2 minute speech that begins with the words “Two roads diverged…” and ends with an audience of yawning parents and students, I’ve opted for something else. Instead of wasting your time giving a speech that you can find on google, I’ll just ask you a question. A question that I think has been a pretty good guide during my high school career and how I finally got myself to start writing this speech. Because although I have a major fear of talking to large groups of people, one of the most important things I’ve learned in high school is that there are some pretty fantastic things that can come out of taking a risk, whether it be speaking up to a single person or a crowd of 700.  So, I ask you all today, families, friends, peers and staff, on this final day of the 2017 school year, are you hesitating?

Are you holding back? Are you hesitant to show your feelings to a friend, significant other or spouse? Are you hesitant to take the leap to look for a new job or stand up to your boss? Are you hesitant to talk to a new person and make a new friend? When you have a great idea pop into your head, do you let it sit there and grow duller in appearance, or do you share it and let it shine? Do you wake up with a mindset that your life will always be stuck the way it is?

We oftentimes find ourselves pausing in life; settling into an endless routine. We wait for the perfect time to make decisions, confess emotions and share opinions. We hesitate to act because we crave a safety net that prevents us from falling. So instead of failure, we face day to day lives of security and thus, mediocrity. We must all learn to hit the “play” button in life and act when we feel we have something to act upon. We cannot waver in the choices we’ve made, or plan to make. We cannot ignore the ideas and feelings we possess, we must accept them. Do not hesitate to strive for your goals because you feel others will beat you along the way. Do not steer away from challenges, have trust in yourself that you can persist.

There is no wait time for uncertainty or fear to leave, they will always be present. However, it is possible, and necessary, to go around them. I have been attempting to do just that for the past 3 minutes.

So please, whether you are entering the workforce, going to college, joining the armed forces, a parent, a student, a teacher or a sibling, go into your every day without walls, without doubts and, above all, without hesitation.

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