I have been thinking about time lately. My time, how I use it, how I could use it more efficiently. I also had time on my mind because the end my freshman year of college is rapidly approaching. Midterms. Spring Break. April. And soon it will be over. I began to ponder about my future, and reminiscence on my past. And I remembered a talk I gave to my graduating senior class the day before our graduation. I have written the transcript of my talk below. I think the message is still as relevant as it is today as it was last year. I guess you could say the message is… timeless. (NB: The content of the talk remains unchanged, with the exception of brackets which are placed for clarification.)
When I heard about the opportunity to speak at Prize Day I was excited. However I had no idea what I would speak about. So I did what any high schooler would do. Procrastinate. Yes, the senioritis had hit me pretty hard. I just wanted to finish my senior project and sleep. As the days moved closer and closer to prize day, I postponed the writing of my speech. As a matter of fact when Mr. Mills [our dean of students] emailed asking me how the speechwriting was going, I simply ignored the email. The problem I’ve had that might be relatable to many of you is procrastination. I treat some projects like a rash, ignore it and hope it goes away. But that never works unfortunately. Time marches on.
Time is odd because it’s one of the few things that affects every physical thing we as individuals experience. There is nothing else in life that you are guaranteed to experience and nothing else is the same for everyone. The taste of pepperoni pizza, your education, emotions, etc. are all different from person to person . It would be hard, nearly impossible, to find two people that have had the same experiences. But time is felt by everyone.
We are mere moments away from our graduation, our commencement, which marks the end of our high school careers and the beginning of the transition into college. We have passed through a season in our lives which ends in a single point of time.
Time because of its ubiquity and inevitable nature has been the constant subject of debate and discussion. John Dunne’ hypothesized, in his 1927 work An Experiment with Time, that all moments of time that have happened and will happen take place at once and that the human consciousness perceives time at a fixed rate. The Vedas, the earliest text of Hindu and Indian philosophy dating back to the 2nd millennium BC, proposed that the universe goes through constant cycles of creation, destruction, and rebirth each lasting 4320 million years. Einstein calculated that measurements of time are relative dependent on the velocity of observers.
Time is constantly on our minds. In the Bible, Time is mentioned in many places but none more extensively as Ecclesiastes 3. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” The verse continues, “There is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal,” etc. etc. providing examples of the highs and lows in our lives. The writer is saying that to all things there is an appropriate, pre-ordained, time period in which they must take place. High school was good, but time moves on, we must become more mature, we must move into the next phase of our lives. Looking back on the past we may remember it with nostalgia, we may long for the simpler days of elementary school. I’m not sure who longs to go back to middle school, but whatever the case may be, we must not get stuck in the trap of constantly looking back.
In this season of high school and in life, we’ve have times, instances where we get so caught up in the schedule we have that we forget to actually live. In high school, you are constantly given things that you must do. Schoolwork, homework, sports, performing arts, social events all make us focus so much on the schedules. WE want to be the best in everything that we do and to be the best we have to give time to each of our passions. We soon become a slave to our schedules, always trying to be on time, always trying to be the best. I’ve done that before and from personal experience I can tell you that it is not enjoyable. Constantly running around trying to satisfy all obligations is draining. What you’re doing becomes perfunctory. It is not done because it is fun, but because it is necessary. I implore all of you to never become slaves to your schedules. The schedule is draining and restraining. It makes life a hassle. Once you reduce your life to a checklist, you begin to make a fatal mistake. You don’t appreciate your time. You do not value the mere fact that you have time, that you are alive, you do not appreciate what you have been blessed with. We mistake busyness with being productive and lose sight of what is important. This is a huge mistake.
There are some things you can never get back in life: innocence, trust, and time. Once you’ve lost it, squandered it, it’s gone forever. It is truly a tragedy to waste time. So once you get so caught up in the schedule you lose focus of your time and your life. As we, the class of 2015, move into college, and the rest of you move through your life, I remind you to cherish your time. Do not get so caught up in completing your checklist, in ceremonies and rituals, in pomp and circumstance, that you do not enjoy your time. You must appreciate your time. Both the good times and the bad times because it is yours. Time is the one thing that is truly yours. Despite times’ universal nature, your time is truly unique. When you waste your time it is only your fault. No one else has your time, your experiences. Nothing can waste your time except you. Not Netflix, not schoolwork, not your friends. You may waste time at the DMV waiting for a license, but other than that it is up to you to use your time wisely.
I think one final reason time is always on our minds is that subconsciously we all know that it is limited. No one knows the day or the hour but our time runs out eventually. And some fear and worry about when that instant will be. Some fear aging and everything associated with it. But I say do not fear or worry about maturing. Embrace it. Value the new times you will have because it only happens once.
So, the class of 2015 is moments away from the end of its season here at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School. We’ve had a good run and good times. There was a time to win games, and a time to lose them, a time to party and a time to study, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time to climb hills at Shrine Mont [our senior class retreat] and a time to take in the view, a time for the college process and a time for a college acceptance, a time to take awkward middle school photos and a time to forget those photos, a time for write essays and a time to revise those essays, a time for dating and a time for breakups, a time for Legally Blonde [our spring musical] show tunes and a time NOT to sing those show tunes, a time to train and a time for Homecoming, Sleepy Thomson [annual basketball tournament], and the Draper Track meet [annual track meet], a time to get a C+ on a Latin test and a time to beg for extra credit, a time to fight and a time to make up, a time to study and a time to cram, a time for Chipotle and another time for Chipotle, a time to do homework and a time to not do homework (I mean, It’s always time to do homework), a time to say hello and a time to say goodbye. The class of 2015 has to say goodbye to our school community after tomorrow. It is the end of our time we have been blessed with here at SSSAS. I thank God for every second of it. Thank you all for the impact you’ve made on my time here and I hope I was able to affect yours too.