Reflection: Life as We Know It!

Learning how to effectively communicate with others is a skill that everyone should learn. Without the help desk, I would not be as great as a communicator as I am today. After some time in the help desk, I wrote a speech about communicating and going out of ones comfort zone below. Hopefully it shows the skills that I learned as a Help Desk Student.

 

Close your eyes for me. We are in a cafeteria during lunch. As you can see there are many students sitting with their friends. The athletes sitting with their teammates, the band students bonding with band students, the academics conversing with other academics. Look to the right. You see a teenager, sitting alone, eating his lunch. No one even says hello. You may be asking, Where are his friends? Why is he by himself? Or even, What is wrong with him? I was that teenager. Shocking, is it not?.

We need friends. It has been proven. How? There are those problems that you would rather die than have your family find out. You know, the ones about friendships, love, school, work. You name it! Who do you turn to when something is wrong? Who can you share secrets with? After a day of extremes, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and some movies do not always cut it. Now you are asking yourself, “Why does this matter?” Have you ever felt alone? Like no one cared? Because I have! Imagine others going through the same problems you are but with no assistance. It is a tough place to be in. It truly is. Everyone should have a friend, wait a minute, make that seven. Why seven you ask? One for every day of the week. Each day comes with its challenges. Either we roll with the punches or look like Evander Holyfield after fighting Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson is equivalent to life, as Evander Holyfield is us, and the referee represents our friends. Without of friends stepping in the ring, I do know if I would be able to hear.

Now the, “What is in it for me?” thought may come across your mind. Ever realised what comes with friendship? Over the course of my life, (yeah I know eighteen years is not that long) many things are due to friends. My involvement with the Boy Scouts, interest in robotics, uptake in business, and occupation all happened due to friendships. Friends are a great source of motivation and encouragement. You are more likely to listen to them then some adult figure. There are even times where we would rather spend time with our friends rather than our family.

This past summer I went on a three week tour of the Philippines performing for numerous organizations, T.V. shows, colleges, and the international press. Everywhere I went, I kept on seeing how students and young people interacted with their peers. Being the so called “Student Ambassadors of the United States” we took it upon ourselves to make as many friends as possible. Being famous in another country is great and all. We were consider celebrities yet being able to make friends with anyone is extraordinary. Wherever we went there were screaming fans wanting our autographs and the occasional crazed one wanting to get on the bus.  Despite this, the finest friends I made while on my travels were always the quiet ones.  The ones on the side, the ones you had to draw out, the ones that required more effort. Reason being, those who say little, can be the loudest. That kid who is quiet in math class may be the next Einstein, that kid who shuns the world may be thinking of the cure for cancer, people are numerous as sand yet unique like snowflakes.

There are people who are the outcasts, the shut ins, the ones who do not “fit” into the social puzzle. The ones who dread being alone or forgotten. I stand here before you today, saying go out there and befriend these people.  Some of my best friends today are those who were shunned by others. You may be thinking, “Who? Me? I can’t do that! My social credit would go down the tubes!!”  I am not here to say תיקון עולם (Tikkun olam), or to fix the world. We, as a united group of individuals, need others in our lives. As Forrest Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” or the phrase “Hui,” from the Hawaii (ha-va-ee) culture, that nobody gets left behind or forgotten.

As I imagine other cafeterias throughout the world, there is always someone with the same M.O. By themselves, reluctant to speak, shy, and in a self-dug hole. A self-proclaimed “wallflower” for lack of a better word. When spotted, approach them, and say, “Hello, my name is ‘Johnny’. May I join you?” A smile will be across their face in no time. An extended hand now will change things down the road. It does not take much to make a friend. Granted, getting the courage to say hello is daunting, but the rewards are numerous. Friendships can cause miracles to happen and mountains to be moved.

Now close your eyes again, Do you see that cafeteria again? There is no teenager sitting alone. Instead, he is seated at your table and you guys are conversing. Everyone is happy. You made a new friend and that teen now has a place to call home.

Make a friend, take a risk, because in the end, friendships do last forever.

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