“You are not Special” High-School Graduation Address





This post is a response to the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lfxYhtf8o4

It’s been four years since I graduated high school. As I think back to my graduation ceremony, the things I most remember about it are how crowded and warm the gym was, and how much I couldn’t wait just to get out of there. I didn’t have such a great high school experience to say the least. Some people may argue that high school is the most important four years of an adolescent’s life. Some believe it is a learning experience like no other, but what do I remember learning? Not much.

Your high school experience very much could have been something that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. You may have made lifelong friends and it may have left an impact on your life. The point is, experiences of youth are not all the same, and they’re not supposed to be.

Everyone comes from a different place. Everyone intends to go in different directions. It’s because of these differences that make each experience unique. Sure, many people can experience the same high school curriculum, but that is typically the extent of anything they experience being near to exactly the same. The way that youth are socialized is based on several different unique actions and choices on behalf of both themselves as well as those around them. This is part of what makes everyone special.

The video is essentially a testament to the fact that all youth should be able to choose their own life path, and by finding something that they love and believe in, it will be of benefit beyond just themselves. Mr. McCullough Jr. said that “selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself” and also that “the fulfilled life… is what happens when you’re thinking about more important things [than just watching YouTube videos or having people do things for you]”. The power of choice is in each individual’s hands. No one can decide what is right or wrong for them, regardless of age or ability to relate to a situation. We are all entitled to make our own mistakes.

“A non-oppositional understanding of social groups involves valuing the differences and uniqueness of groups rather than seeing them as necessarily locked into a binary, hierarchical relationship” (Albanese et al. 2011:57). Whether it relates to different genders, different ‘races’ or different age groups, everyone is unique and therefore “you are not special, because everyone is” (McCullough, 2012).

Had I been given this speech I may be in a different place right now. Who knows if I would even be writing this blog. What I mean is that I might have been in a different mindset after high school; one that believes the power of youth, in the strength of youth, and understands what youth can do with these traits, if given the right opportunities.



Works cited:

Albanese et al.

2008     Youth & Society: Exploring the Social Dynamics of Youth Experience. Oxford University Press, Inc. Austrailia.

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