Taylor Wallace

I asked my mom, a little while ago, what I should do for my senior speech and she said I don’t know what to say. And here I am, today, still wondering what would be best to say. This is my fifth draft of this speech and to be totally open with you all, I find this process to be quite draining. I’ve spent all this time writing words, deleting words wondering if I’m being cliche or boring. Wondering if my friend Amos is gonna call me out for sounding stupid.

Frankly, I believe a simple 5 minute speech tells nothing of the true depth of my stories. For there are many in this audience that know me too well. Some of these people love me like family, some of these people don’t care, not even in the slightest, and some of these people dislike me. I have often been told, in different ways, that my greatest trait is my ability to affect people. I’m still not sure how to feel about it. Throughout my life, in school, out of school, I feel that I have been a great influence. I feel I have made an impact, made something of myself at this point in time.

All of the people who know me, all have different stories to tell. Stories you can laugh about at a party and stories you’d rather not bring up, ever. No single story can display the kind of person I am. I would never be satisfied with this speech if I had to do it like that.

All I truly wish to say is that I’ve made it. No matter the struggles, or the twists and turns, I made it. I think, above all else, this fact is the pinnacle of my high school experience. Many can recall times when I felt like giving up entirely. Times when I did give up. Times when I should’ve. Times when I had to. But beyond all that I stand, or, rather, sit before you as a soon-to-be graduate. When I think back to all the years I’ve spent with my peers it is truly hard to believe we’re actually gonna finish the job.

I wish I could’ve helped myself look a little further in life when I was younger. I wish I could’ve comprehended that school is not a prison, that it is a vessel for my abilities. A vehicle that will get me to what I want to do in life. Instead I’ve fought the system year after year. Thinking that eventually I’d be satisfied with myself. Believing it would all be over and everything would feel weightless, I’d be free.

As it turns out, I mislead myself. There is no greener grass than the field you’re standing on. There is no fence to climb. The land is what you make it. There is no “freedom from the work”. You live with the work. You coexist. You love the work, it loves you back. That’s how it… works.

We work hard for things that will inevitably fade from existence. However, I think it is, for that exact reason, that we have been given a special gift on this planet. When you’re given a gift as magnificent as life and consciousness you have a duty to the space dust you’re made up of to immerse yourself in life. I’m not saying don’t worry, be happy as the world is crumbling in on itself, but we must realize that there are supremely difficult things in life. People will face inequality, injustice, cruelties of all sorts. Topics, I don’t wish to delve into.

So let’s bring it back for a second. You’re watching me right now. Listening to me right now. Or you’re in the next room doing the maze on the back of a cereal box. All I can do is appreciate the fact that you’ve got something to do. Something to work towards.

I’ve learned over these four tough years that it is better to live honestly and authentically than anything else. I believe you’ve gotta be more than a pair of shoes or a bookworm, and that’s what I work towards.

I say challenge your superiors and your peers. Challenge me, I dare you. Most importantly challenge yourself. Do not regret years spent in mediocrity or disappointment.