As I was thinking about what final words of advice I would give you today, I came up with a
Top 10 list of my best advice:
- Use your talents. Find your talents ....try new things, expand your experiences...You all have wonderful talents, some you don't even know you have....find them, use them. If you always wait for the right time, you may never begin.(Amish proverb)
- Be determined and persevere. It's tempting to give up when you encounter difficulty, but don't...success could be right around the corner. Never, never, never give up.
- Respect others. Jesse Jackson once said the only time you should look down on someone is when you're reaching down to help them up.
- Value your integrity. Character and reputation are priceless. Say what you mean and mean what you say. A tarnished character is hard to repair.
- Maintain a sense of humor. Having a sense of humor is a fantastic asset. Learn how to laugh at yourself. Everyone enjoys working with someone who can laugh and besides, life is too important to be taken seriously.
- Remember to say "thank you". Saying “thank you” is a simple gesture, but one that will be appreciated by others. Simple courtesies do not go unnoticed.
- Take risks and challenge yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Go zip lining, ride a camel, try juggling, travel to exotic places.
- Life your life with gusto. Have fun…party hard and work hard…not necessarily in that order! Find a balance between work and fun. Don’t sit on the sidelines; embrace life.
- Learn from failure. None of us wants to fail, but failure can provide us with important lessons if we’re able to debrief, re-assess, learn from it and then take it to the next experience.
And lastly…and possibly most importantly,
- Follow your moral compass. A compass is a relatively simple instrument based on a simple concept. It is a consistent and true indicator of physical direction. When we place “moral” in front of it, we think about the clear path that points a person in a certain direction. The path is usually determined by our personal beliefs, religious upbringing, parental influences, etc. and they determine our beliefs about what is “right” and what is “wrong” thus guiding our behavior.
As you move through life, you will, if like most people, experience challenges to your moral compass. Sometimes the decisions you will face will be easy ones. Other times, they will be more difficult and you may find your moral compass wavering. Sometimes you will be tempted to take short cuts, overlook the truth, because after all, what difference does it make if no one finds out. These situations will be the true test of your moral compass.
In closing, let me leave you with some words from Blake Beattie, a motivational speaker who recently wrote, “Bull’s-eye: the Ultimate Guide to Achieving Your Goals”:
Sail beyond the horizon; fly higher than you ever thought possible; magnify your existence by helping others; be kind to animals of all shapes and sizes; be true to what you value most; shine your light on the world; and be the person you were born to be…”
Congratulations and many wishes for much success! See you at the Distinguished Alumni banquet!
Dr. Marion H. Martinez
Superintendent Binghamton City Schools