Somebody is going to die today.
Another will lose their home of 35 years in a flood – or a foreclosure.
One student will walk out in the middle of this class.
And six of you will drop out within 2 weeks.
Good morning, class.
Welcome to the School of Real.
“ ,” I texted my best friend Anne, sitting 3 rows behind me.
“I’m scared. But excited!! And anxious!! All at the same time!!!”
Leave it to Anne to get hysterical and abuse punctuation in the middle of Training Day.
I turned around to look at faces – see if I was the only one freaking out, or maybe I was dreaming…
But no, every single face echoed my thoughts:
if this is just the 1st day of high school, WTF have I gotten myself into?
In a few years, some of you here will get married. Some will have children. Others will look on in envy. While the married ones stew over the walking-out-the-house-when-we-want times they so terribly miss – “the good ol’ days.”
Some of you will get high paying, high-octane jobs that can own your souls, while some others get on their knees – literally – for their daily bread.
Others still will wander around in their 50s, not quite sure of anything, of their neighbours, of just what to do with themselves…
Most of you, in any case, will use only 6% of what you learned in school in life.
And ALL of you, at one time or the other, will look at yourselves in the mirror and intensely dislike what you see.
But ALL of you, will also have moments – no matter how fleeting – of inexpressible beauty! The taste of water on a parched tongue, maybe after a grueling workout… the first words of a child… your first orgasm… a perfect slam dunk… a prestigious award on an international stage, or a “thank you” from a stranger for an unexpected kindness… overwhelming emotion that moves you to tears… infectious laughter at the dinner table… cooking delicious jollof and sharing with hungry friends…
And these are the times you must try earnestly to appreciate – to fully experience, to treasure, absorb into your bank of memories. The times that can inspire greatness bigger than any one person, times like the moment in a garden under an apple tree as one apple fell in the breeze and changed human understanding of the universe forever…
Now, go out and stretch for a 10-minute break.