Last month, we joined in the celebration of 25 high school students from KidWorks' 2023 graduating class. High school graduation often marks an important rite of passage for young adults as they make their transition into adulthood. Filled with high expectations and an abundance of hope, it can be a time of both excitement and anxiety.
What do you want to be doing? Where do you see yourself? What’s your passion?
These simple questions have the power to strike fear into graduates everywhere as they contemplate what lies ahead.
It is one of life's fork-in-the-road moments.
Although all of the 25 graduates have been accepted and are planning to attend college or university in the fall, the natural next step is not always cut-and-dry. College is not for everyone. For some, depending on academics, finances, family situations, or personal interests, alternative options such as trade or technical schools, military or public service, or internships provide a crucial opportunity for building successful careers.
If I were to give these graduates one piece of advice, I would tell them that what is most important in career and in life is to find their passion, a sense of belonging, and purpose.
Finding Passion: For me, passion - the one thing that lights up your soul more than anything else - is not always intuitive, rather it is one of learning and discovery. The most crucial step in discovering your passion is experience. You’ve got to do things. You’ve got to taste different cultures and feel a range of responsibilities. You’ve got to get up, get out and get moving. Try, try and try again. Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be shy to move on if something doesn’t drive you to be the best in any given area. Just know that you can have more than one passion and that passions may even evolve as you grow, learn, and experience more.
Belonging: There is an old adage that says, to be human is to belong. We live in a society that prizes independence and self-reliance, and each of us are encouraged to discover what makes us unique, but it is only when you share and connect with the greater whole that positive growth within yourself, those you touch, and your community becomes possible. Achieving this sense of belonging requires you to explore who you are, to have the courage to show your vulnerability, and a willingness to create a sense of belonging for others. This may sound easy, but it requires commitment and ongoing work.
Living with Purpose: Whereas passion is for you, purpose is for others. When you find a passion, it’s something you enjoy. It brings you inner peace and happiness. Purpose, on the other hand, is about meaning. It blends what you love with why you’re doing it. Simply put, purpose is the “why” behind your actions. It’s the reason you get up in the morning, the thing you strive for every day. It’s something external to you — it’s how you contribute to the world.
When passion meets purpose and then shared with others, a whole world of new possibilities opens up bringing new experiences, discoveries, connections, and pathways. And so, your journey continues, a journey of a lifetime, your lifetime and beyond.
From all of us at Red String to all of the 2023 KidWorks' graduates, we offer our heartiest congratulations. The world is yours for the taking. Enjoy your path of discovery, meaning, and building community as you march toward your future, and don't forget to stop and reflect along the way from time to time.
Oh, one more thing...just remember wherever your path leads you, it’s not the destination, but the journey that matters most.
(to be continued)