Final Advice by Riley Beck

My amazing nephew gave me permission to share this paper he wrote for one of his last school assignments in high school. They were asked to give advice to the younger classes about what they learned while in high school. The advice given here is better than anything I could ever come up with to tell a teen who is going through high school or middle school. You could not pay me to go back to high school, but if I had to, I would remember this…

My Final Advice

A year ago my grandfather and I started going to dinner together each month. The first dinner he told me that if he could go back to my age he would never do it, unless he could take the knowledge he has now with him. When I look back on my high school experience I realize that I feel the same way.  Given the option I would never go back unless I could take what I know now and use it to my advantage.  Over the past 4 years I’ve gone from a scared 13 year old to an evolved, self-confident, and excited person.  With the knowledge I have now, I hope that I can convey it to you younger classmates so that you won’t have to make the same mistakes I did.  One thing I have always loved and been inspired by is quotes. I’ve split this speech into sections based on words of wisdom. Each piece has had a sincere effect on me and I hope you will hear and learn the knowledge in each quote. 

The first quote is from Wreck It Ralph the quote follows as “There’s no one I’d rather be than me.” Throughout the movie we see Ralph wish that he could be like everyone else, and live in the apartments with all the other people. Everyone saw him as different and he hated that, so he decided to leave and go become a hero. As time goes on Ralph’s game starts to break down because there is no longer a bad guy to push the game forward, the characters begin to panic and realize that they really do need Ralph. Meanwhile Ralph is learning that everyone is a hero and that he just needs to be himself. He eventually becomes the hero by sacrificing himself and diving into the mento volcano to save Sugar Rush. When applied to myself I see that when I first started high school I was obsessed with being like everyone else. I sacrificed things I loved so that I could “fit in” . I spent my first three years of highschool being silently pushed around all in an effort to be the same as everyone else. But as P.T. Barnum said in the Greatest Show “ No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” Since realizing this I have evolved so much and have come to inspire people all around me to achieve their goals and to truly become themselves. So my first piece of advice is this, be yourself then friends and joy will find you. 

“There’s a benefit to losing, you get to learn from your mistakes.” -Megamind.  Megamind is an interesting character his whole life he tries, and tries, and tries. Sadly no matter what he does he fails,  but he never gives up. Megamind embodies an attribute that we should all strive to obtain and that is perseverance. I guarantee you will make mistakes in high school because everyone does. I made a lot of them but I have since realized life isn’t about the mistakes we make but it’s about the lessons we learn from them. My grandfather is fond of a saying “If you sh*t in your bed I’ll have to smell it, but you’re the one that has to sleep in it.” Life isn’t fair and it definitely isn’t easy.  A big part of making mistakes is having to deal with the consequences that follow. Sometimes these consequences are as small as a brief warning, or potentially as large as time in jail, or having a child in highschool.  Regardless of the consequences you receive from your actions you must take it in stride and continue pushing forward. Life is full of actions and reactions. It is up to you to react appropriately. So my advice to you from these 2 quotes is when you make a mistake, take a step back, find the lesson hidden within, then persevere and learn to live with the consequence. 

My next quote is from Captain Jack Sparrow “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” Sparrow is one of my favorite characters.  In every movie Sparrow is loaded with problems whether his ship is stolen, he’s jailed, he’s given the black spot, and for a time he was even sent to the underworld. While faced with all of these problems we never see Sparrow take on a bad attitude. Even when all of his crew doubts him he cracks a joke, smiles, and goes on his way. While he is eccentric and probably isn’t the greatest example on how to live he has an incredible ability to see the light and turn everything in a good direction. In all of highschool I have been faced with problem after problem. In the times that I have looked at my problems with a good attitude they seem to turn onto my side and my problems become some of my greatest achievements and allies. So my advice I give from Captain Jack Sparrow is to look your problems in the eyes, examine your attitude, and finally take your problems and turn them into your greatest achievements. With each problem you are faced with, find a solution and keep pressing forward.  

My next quote is “Even darkness must pass, a new day will come, and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.” – Samwise Gamgee. As Frodo and Samwise travel with the ring to eventually destroy it Frodo is faced with his darkest moments. The ring leads him into fear, anger, hate, selfishness, and despair.  Yet he has his friend beside him that helps him see the sun still shines, there is always day after night and there is always a rainbow after rain.  In my four years of high school I have gone through the darkest moments of my life, but also the brightest and happiest moments of my life. My sophomore and junior year I came face to face with loneliness, fear, depression, despair, obesity, and addiction. Yet I realized there are people around me that love me, I realized that there would soon be light. As I suffered in the darkest of night I remembered the light of noon day. You will be faced with despair, you will be faced with sadness. You will walk in the night these next few years, but you will also walk in the day and when you do it will be all the brighter. My advice to you from Samwise is this, regardless of what is happening to you, remember that there are people that love you and the sun will soon shine and when it does it will be brighter. You must experience the dark to appreciate the light. 

My next quote for you is this, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – Gandalf The Gray. Considering all that I have told you, you must remember life isn’t all bad and it isn’t all hard.  The next few years you will have the most fun of your life so far! Remember to still have fun, go to the party, talk to new people, travel, try new things, and enjoy every moment because it goes by fast. My one regret in high school is that I didn’t have the fun that I could have had.  Don’t worry so much about the problems in life, just have fun and enjoy the freedom and time you have because it won’t last forever. “You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.” – Colin Wright. You only get to go to highschool one time so use your time wisely. Yes it’s important to get grades and yes it’s important to get things done. But it’s most important to experience. Experience everything you can and when you graduate don’t have any regrets, live to the fullest, live in the moment, and enjoy your ride.  

My final piece of advice to you is simple. Follow your instincts, follow your dreams, experience, achieve goals, learn from mistakes, walk in the light, remember who you are, and in the mean time don’t sh*t in your bed.  High School is what you make it remember Captain Sparrows advice and have a good attitude.  If you do this, high school will be the best four years of your life. Never give up, I wish all of you the best, I wish you success and happiness. Go out and take the world. 

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