Now that spring break has passed the final days of school feel like they are rapidly approaching. I have been thinking a lot about the fact that I have spent four years cultivating and building various communities here. Each one, while they haven’t been perfect, has taught me so much and I am quickly realizing all that I am grateful for. So as much as I am excited to make the transition, I have also begun to nervously anticipate the change.
I wrote pieces of advices for myself based off of the poem Patti Digh created for her commencement speech. The advice is only for myself, based off of what I have learned throughout my time at Guilford and also what I hope to be able to bring with me into whatever work I do next.
Instead of knowing, I hope you will question.
Instead of accumulating, I hope you will give.
Instead of playing to win, I hope you will play to learn.
Instead of competing, I hope you will collaborate.
Instead of hating, I hope you will love.
Instead of remaining silent about inequities, I hope you will speak up.
Instead of despairing, I hope you will be happy in advance.
Instead of fleeing, I hope you will walk straight into all the days of your lives.
Instead of avoiding, I hope you will sit next to someone arm to arm.
Instead of diminishing, I hope you will know, deeply, that every human being you meet is as fully human as you are.
Instead of asking, ‘what will I get from this’, ask ‘what am I bringing to this’?
In addition to working, play.
In addition to protecting, open.
In addition to saving, give.
In addition to dreaming, do.
In addition to doing, dream.
Instead of saying failure, say “learning moment.”
Instead of apologizing, explain your feelings.
Instead of getting angry, have compassion.
Instead of saying “you’re wrong” articulate your reasoning.
Instead of being passive to injustice, create a moral revolution of values.
Instead of thinking about what’s next, appreciate the moment you are in.
Instead of wanting to do everything, dedicate yourself to doing one thing well.
Instead of giving into the darkness of injustice, follow the path of the light.
Instead of making a 5 year plan, let your vocation reveal itself organically.
Instead of striving for perfection, be grateful with what you have.
Instead of mourning a loss, be thankful for transformative relationships.
Instead of looking for recognition, make selfless sacrifices for the betterment of the community.
Instead of throwing the rock, look over the edge.
Instead of criticizing difference, recognize complementary skills.
Instead of only working on myself, support others path for improvement.
Instead of alienating those who don’t agree with you, teach them something.
In addition to calling or racism in small acts, also call out the system.
In addition to prioritizing yourself, also prioritize the community.
In addition to caring for others, care for yourself.
In addition to doing something because you have to, do it because you want to.
In addition to thinking critically, remember solidarity is a verb.
In addition to being nostalgic for old communities, build new ones.