Onward | Teen Ink


June 4, 2013
By Vitros SILVER, Park Ridge, Illinois
Vitros SILVER, Park Ridge, Illinois
8 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into, but the way those atoms are put together.
-Carl Sagan

My journey through Maine South has been one of unknowns. I was plagued by questions such as “How do I relate to people?” or “Why do electrons act like waves and particles?” or “How do I reconcile the enormity of the Universe with the shortness of my life?” The list goes on. While I have varied success in finding answers to these questions, the one more or less definite conclusion I uncovered is that high schoolers are ignorant beings.

We, teenagers, enter into every moment of our lives blind. There is so much we do not know, so many wonders we have never beheld. Yet this ignorance is merely fuel for our curiosity. For every breath we draw, every word we hear, every star we ponder can inspire in us a profound wonder. With this wonder we grow. The Universe speaks to us, kindling our imaginations, spurring us to explore our world. We open our eyes to the vast beauty and complexity of the Universe. We come to understand why things are the way they are. And in this understanding, we find compassion. For in knowing something, in truly comprehending how and why it exists as it does, we are connected to it—elevated by our knowledge. We come to love it. That is our power, our pleasure, our privilege as the youth of our world. We can look out into the Universe and pit our reason and curiosity against its secrets. We can shape our minds to embrace an elegant, rational reality. We can cultivate new ideas and a greater understanding of the Universe and, in doing so, foster a compassion born of knowledge.

My hope, therefore, is that we do not focus on the knowledge we now have and the memories we cherish, but rather that we celebrate the discoveries we will make and compassion we will find. Thank you.

The author's comments:
The top seven students in my graduating class were invited to offer a one-minute parting thought at the commencement ceremony. This is what I was SUPPOSED to say...though as a result of blanking out mid-speech, I began to improvise...

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