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May. 21st, 2011 @ 05:23 pm Cookies and Walking with Friends: Taking Advice From My Students

I'm baking chocolate chip cookies with someone I love and my hands smell like vanilla and sugar. Perfect for typing. It makes me grateful for the life I live. I spent the day building business plans and book plans with friends who mean the world to me. I enjoyed a moment walking arm-in-arm in the rain through Oak Park with a friend who I share the same eyes with--but a different outer shell. And it reminds me of my last moments with my college students when we all wrote advice on the white board. It all stemmed from Michael Dirda's essay "Commencement Advice" where he tells graduates to read everything, find a hero to emulate, and to "live all you can" because "it's a mistake not to."

I had a student last semester who has Lupus; she's a Make-a-Wish child who was granted a wish to go to New York and record a song at a top recording studio. So you can imagine what it was like to read her assignment on commencement advice. Here it is verbatim.

"Commencement Advice" by Gabriela Garcia

"In life thus far; this is what I know. I know I'm not perfect and you won't be either. We will make mistakes, paint over what we can't handle, and run from the truth. Life is what you make it. You have a choice to make it bad or good. So here's a little advice from the heart. When you're lost and you've run out of hope, you should already know that it's hard and it will get better. Be prepared for the worst and have your hopes high for the best. Don't get tangled in the middle of life. Catch up to it if you can. You may not ever understand completely but hang on to what you have because eventually that is what you will have left. We move on and forget so much it's a routine but don't ever forget about your faith. When you try to throw something or someone away, don't let the light go out because they will come back knocking on your door. In a blink of an eye, it can change your life and it never slows down fast enough. I don't know what it is about life but it can make you have flashbacks of your entire life and it can open your heart or even break you apart. In this life thus far; this is what I know. You will be the best you can possibly be."

Thank you, Gaby. A million times, thank you. And to all my students from Spring 2011, I will miss you. Best of luck to all of you!

Below you can make fun of me or agree with me...you choose.