June 3, 2013 by NowhereButPop
Over the past month, we have all been awarded various degrees signifying our mastery of a specific area of study. Some excelled in the liberal arts; others perfected their studies of business, and others mastered in the field of communications. Although I have named only a few areas of study amongst the infinite avenues of pursuit, regardless of whether we received a Bachelor of Arts, Sciences, Fine Arts, or any other degree we all share one undeniable trait. We are, all of us, at a crossroads; so to speak we are on the precipice of beginning our lives as independent adults.
At this crossroad the same question is posed to each of us individually and as a generation: How will we impact this world? This question, that every generation before us has faced, has two answers. We can maintain the status quo and keep the world as it is, or we can change it, mold it in our image, wash away what does not work, what has failed us and replace it with something new, something better. As we are the next generation entering maturity, it is up to us to correct past mistakes and forge ahead improved paths for future generations, just as it will be up to future generations to correct mistakes that our generation will inevitably commit.
No doubt we are young, and with youth come both pros and cons that will help and hinder us on our way to success. On the one hand youth yields arrogance, capriciousness, impatience, and shortsightedness, but on the other hand it brings with it energy, ideas, hope, and arrogance. Yes, arrogance, at least youthful arrogance is both a benefit and detriment of youth. We as youngsters need it, or some semblance of self-confidence if we are to truly believe that we can change this world for the better, but as with all things, too much of it will corrupt us and distort our deeds no matter how good the intentions may be.
But if we are to truly succeed in our task, our responsibility of changing this world for the better, then we must have the hope that we will be able to succeed. We must believe that all will be well, and while they may seem more intangible and out of reach now more than ever, it is because of this that we must cling on to the hope of a better tomorrow tighter than we have ever before. This time however, the onus lives upon us to make this improvement happen. And while it would be easy for me to espouse my own personal beliefs on what needs to be improved upon, I will refrain as that is not important right now. What is important though is that regardless of our beliefs, there are certain absolutes that everyone can ascribe to, a better, safer world for our children, a world free from violence, hate, and destitution. Although these troubles have and most likely will afflict mankind forever, we must do all we can to mitigate these nuisances.
Of equal importance to external improvement is internal improvement. In order to change the world and make it a better place, we must first be able to better and improve upon ourselves. For how can we propose to fix the flaws of the world if cannot even attempt to fix the flaws within ourselves? We must be what we want the world to be or else whatever change occurs would be hollow as it would be devoid of sincerity.
Sincerity is the best tool we have with which to implement our goals as a generation. If we believe in something absolutely and wholeheartedly, no defeat, no matter how large will deter our pursuit of greatness and more importantly goodness. If I see one flaw in our generation it is an overall lack in sincerity. That’s not to say we are insincere and artificial, but demonstration comes first while emotions seem to come secondly. Our cynicism and sarcasm are no doubt a result and reflection of the state of the world. Between wars, fiscal crisis, and the increasingly availability of anything imaginable it’s hard not to be cynical and sarcastic. And that is why we must fight for what we believe in the hopes that our children will not grow up in a world where war, famine and pestilence are commonplace, and genocide is broadcast live on the evening news.
As I’ve already stated, we are young now and I for one want to change the world and be who I want to be now when I have the vitality for it. I don’t want to struggle for decades just to get to the point where I can make a change only to falter because I don’t have the energy or the fight left in me anymore. I guess that’s just my youthful impatience talking, but I’d imagine the same is true for all of you as well. We have the energy and we have the time now, at this very moment. Why would we want to pass it up and become a part of the status quo, if the status quo is broken. That is not to say that everything is broken, but it is our job as the next generation to question what doesn’t work and find a way to replacement it with something that does.
We are not the first generation in such a predicament, nor will we be the last. Others have risen to the occasion to make the world a better place. Our grandparents’ generation, labeled the “Greatest Generation” took it upon themselves to fight tyranny, oppression, and genocide across the entire globe. Who was it that was leading the way for freedom and life, and fighting against fascism and death? People our age. It was men and women not much older than us giving their lives to protect not only this nation, but the entire world from this threat of great evil.
Unfortunately however, not every generation can inspire and leave the world in a better place as did the “Greatest Generation”. Some shirked and cowered in the face of challenging a malignant aspect of society. The generations leading up to the American Civil War failed to confront the evil that was slavery and instead forced that conflict unto later generations in what became known as the darkest chapter in American history.
We as a generation have a decision to make. Who will we choose to emulate? Will it be our grandparents who fought to make the world a little bit safer, or will be like those who failed to correct a system that was unjust and inept. Now is the time to take a stand and express ourselves as individuals and as a generation. We must stand up for our beliefs as one and as many. Of course I am not referring to any semblance of violence being used in doing so, but we must be assertive and vigilant as history has shown us that there will be those who oppose change for the better. We will be the future leaders, writers, artists, business executives, etc of the world. Why can we not do this now? Why can we not be the present voice of the planet?
I leave you with a final challenge, and that challenge is to do whatever possible to be heard. We have ideas, we have plans, and we now have a voice. All we must do now, is be heard. If we hold on to hope and show a little more sincerity there is no doubt that we will not only be heard, but we will be listened to. We must be who we are and stand steadfast in our beliefs. If we do this in conjunction with staying hopeful and expressing sincerity then no doubt all will be well. Class of 2013 I believe in us and in our potential, now is the time to show the world the magnitude of our potential.