The Commencement Address You Never Heard Because I Was Never Asked

Thousands of college students just heard hundreds of commencement addresses by speakers famous and wise; and occasionally even both. What is there to say that hasn't already been said century after century?

If I were somehow to be given the privilege, I have had my address written for years. Simple, because it would take less than 10 minutes to advise them (1) what to take with (2) what to leave behind:

* Take with you the name & address of the professor who most impacted your life, be it in the classroom, in the library, or maybe
in the local bar. If they were that influential, why wait for some distant reunion to tap the spring?

* Take with you the best of your best friend from campus. Someone whose Huckleberry unconventionality was a first in your life. You can't afford to return home without that delicious burr under your saddle

* Take with you that special book that you couldn't help quoting and re-quoting over midnight pizzas. That's a mind you dare not
keep in your library; you must find a place for it in your life

* Leave behind that first awful Freshmen fear about stepping out of your comfort zone. If you have by now conquered it good;
if not quite, never stop chipping away at it

* Leave behind the broken pieces of your heart, shattered by the betrayal of that someone you thought you could trust. You want the memory of the lesson, but god forbid you should wear the hideous pieces themselves like Marley did his chains

* Leave behind the worst grade you ever received over these four years. Get over it. But what you must not get over is just how you did it, so you can remember how not to do it again

Thank you, you beautiful innocent young people. I hope in the years ahead, you will light up both our lives .....!

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