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Here We Stand



By Richard Ryan Santosa

Here we stand, my fellow classmates, here we stand. 17 or 18 years of life, and 13 years of schooling behind us. We have all the bumps and bruises of adolescence, and perhaps the barest hints of wisdom gained from it. We have finished a level of education some can only dream of. Think of how far we have gone, how distant today seemed from the chairs of kindergarten we all once sat. The next thing we knew, 13 years have passed and now here we are, with the same caps, the same gowns, the same certificates, with boundless freedom each to live a life that is solely our own.


Now, we stand upon the cusps of infinite possibility, and how can we not be envied? Not because of what we have, or what we have done, but for what we still can do. We are just embarking upon this grand adventure called life. Our lives up until this point have been fairly

ordered and straightforward, each year of schooling leading to the next, with steps and purpose clearly set and defined. But now ahead of us is our lives, with countless possibilities and goals we can grasp and achieve, and we have the chance to do so.


My fellow classmates, today is the first day of the rest of our lives. But so was yesterday and so shall be tomorrow and so shall be each day after that. The decisions we make each day steer

the course of our lives and this never ceases to be true. Destiny is not preordained. But, it is

easy to be filled with hope and excitement and simply state that your life will be great. It is easy

to forget to push our efforts and fall into quiet complacency. Five years passed, and you’re no

nearer to your dreams.


To achieve success, the definition of which is different to each of us, we must strive each day to

move forward. We will not always succeed immediately, but that doesn’t matter. A lack of

success only becomes failure when you allow it to defeat you. Even to never succeed in our

goals is not a failure, only to give up without ever truly trying. There will be luck involved, and

other factors beyond our control on the achievement of our goals, and it’s natural. It’s natural

for our dreams and goals to shift with time, but that being said, we are always better for having

pursued them.



One definition of success is the ability look back upon your life without regrets. You don’t want

to live your remaining years wondering what could’ve been. As most people say, do something

your future self will thank you for.


We will make mistakes. We will. But we cannot let ourselves got caught up in the past, regretting things we can no longer change that we forget about the future.


When I say to live without having regrets, I also mean not letting the moments pass by. The special minutes and hours and days that will remain with you for all of your life. It is easy to have a limb in the future, and ignore the present. But the future is only the present to come, and the past is only the present gone by. If you forget to stop and look around, you’re left with little of either. So I ask you, my classmates to look around. Look at yourselves, and see the journey that today is a culmination of. The journey that began our parents will remember on that first day of our kindergarten. The journey that began 13 years ago. Just as fast as today came it will be gone into memory, a memory we will share to our families in the future. So cherish each moment.



Look around you, and see the faces of your peers, your friends. Perhaps you’ve talked to each

other perhaps you haven’t. But you know each other. You know each other because you know

yourselves. Cherish this moment, as we will certainly miss this. Though our path might differ,

remember to always stay connected.


We have a long journey ahead of us, and we have already come so far. Today is the day to celebrate with your families, your friends, your classmates, it’s more than a celebration of high school for today we gather to mark an important milestone on our path.


Ahead of us stands life my classmates, and all its beauty and grandeur. Ahead of us stand the people we are to meet in the places we are to go. Ahead of us stand those we may love and the families we may create. Ahead of us stand the dreams we are to realize. Ahead of us stands life,


let’s live it.



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