Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Graduation column

This column is for all of the fine young men and women who will be graduating this week. Congratulations on a job well done. In a world where there are so many distractions and speedbumps in your way, you have persevered.

Take a breath, and feel good about yourself. You've earned it. You are not, however, finished. You have a world to save.

The world you are heading into is just as full of obstacles, so you want to be as prepared as possible to take on all challenges. This means college, of course, and lots of it. Just a generation ago, there was still a chance to make a life without much education beyond high school, but the growing world and the fierce competition in it demand more and more. Now, even an associate degree isn't enough, and a bachelor's degree is essentially the bare minimum that is needed to get you in on the bottom rung of many companies.

This isn't your parents' world. This is your world, and if you don't like what you see, don't like what the future seems to be holding in store for you, then it is up to you to do something about it. Take charge of your destiny. One look at the current state of affairs in this world is enough to tell you that it's broken, and needs fixing. It's up to you, youngbloods, to get it straightened out.

This you will do, first by observing the world in a clearheaded manner, free from booze, drugs, and other pollutants that fog the mind and prevent wise decisions. You will then make your own informed opinions based on what you see and hear with your own eyes and ears, not what some talking head says on the television or radio or even in Internet blogs, which are the worst of all. Our precious freedom of speech has allowed way too much nonsense to be spewed by all sides, making your job even more difficult. But you will use the great minds that you have developed over the years to filter out all of the junk coming your way, and you will act on what you have determined are the problems and ailments of society.

To do this, you will be required to travel. I meet too many people every single day who have never been out of Georgia -- too many people who don't know how vast and varied this world is. I've been fortunate enough in my life to have visited many lands, including Africa, Europe, Canada, the West Indies and more. Don't just take it from me, see for yourself. It's a big world, and every place has its own characteristics that make it unique. Visit these places, and learn from what you see. You'll be all the better for it.

I don't want to put too much pressure on you, though. You know what you have to do. The other thing that is a must, though, is the most important: Live for yourself at the same time you are saving the world for everyone else. Whether you believe in God, or evolution, or the stork, you are lucky to be here for this shot at life. So make the most of it, and have fun, be careful and most importantly, have a great life!

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