What matters most is what we do next
To the class of 2020:
First may I offer my congratulations on what you have achieved in these last 4 years. Your work in the classroom, in your school community, on the athletic fields and in your town have brought you to this point. Congratulations.
I imagine that over the last four years you probably thought about your senior year, final exams, celebrations and your graduation ceremony with excitement, and probably some anxiety too.
I am sure, though, like all of us, you could not envision the current circumstances or that this is how you would graduate. It is beyond anything any of us could comprehend. It was unexpected, unimaginable and out of our control.
However, what matters most when things are out of our control, is what we do next. That is within our control.
So, go ahead and take some time for regrets and the sense of loss you must be feeling over this — just not too much time. Turn your thoughts to what you will do next. There is a lot of work to be done.
We always look to our youth for new thinking and the passion to develop and implement this new thinking. Your class is no different, but today’s need is profoundly different.
This crisis has forced a turning point and is creating opportunities to reshape the future in a very substantial way. You will be part of a time of rebuilding.
What I hope you do next is to be a leader in that rebuilding, to seize that moment and find ways to ensure we all start thinking about “we” instead of “me”.
You can be part of how that future will be designed. It will take inspiration and courage.
Please watch for these opportunities and contribute to them. Better yet, create them.
Whatever you decide to do next, please continue to learn, whether formally or in everyday settings. Knowledge feeds the soul.
I hope you will include service to others as part of what you do next. Make it part of your life, whether through small commitments and contributions or as a path you choose as your life’s work.
There will be other times when things are out of your control. Remember, it’s what you do next that matters.
Congratulations once again, I am eager to see what you will do next.
Rep. Tram Nguyen, D-Andover, represents the 18th Essex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Her district includes parts of Andover Boxford, North Andover and Tewksbury.