I left Chicago today.
See that little black tower with the two white antennae on top? That’s the Sears tower (SEARS, not Willis).
We drove for lots of hours. We started at around 11 this morning, Chicago time, and got here a like 9 Chicago time, 10 Buffalo time. The drive was okay, but I’m not really interested in that.
Latin does a lot of things in an unorthodox way. One of which is that the valedictorian doesn’t speak at graduation-instead, the speaker is elected by the senior class. I really wanted to speak at graduation, but sadly I lost the nomination.
I had something I really wanted to say to my classmates, though, and I’m going to say it here. I can be balder in my assertions here, which should be fun.
Luke 12:48: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”
There are very few people who go to high schools with as many resources as my high school. There are few people in human history who got the sort of education we got.
Many people were at Latin by accident of birth. Their parents were wealthy or influential, and so as toddlers they were admitted. Or, like me, their parents had the money to finance an excellent education leading up to high school and so they were positioned to easily go where they pleased. Most of us were there not because of our own merit, but by the families we happened to belong to. Some were not. But most were.
There’s nothing morally wrong with that sort of luck! However (and here’s another bald assertion) there is something wrong with failing to use it. As a high schooler, this was maddening to me. Every time people showed up to class and didn’t take things seriously, they were essentially taking a gift they had been given (and from which someone else could have benefitted) and throwing it in the trash. We are the stewards of the gifts we are given. And the reason we are the stewards is that ultimately the gifts are not ours- we need to use them to serve.
College admissions favors the wealthy, just like getting into Latin did, and again I must count myself as someone receiving an excellent education that they did not earn. I was a good steward of my gifts in high school (not only the gifts of opportunity, but also of aptitude- I pushed myself to learn what I was good at and how I was good at it), but I did not follow through on service. At 18 I feel an urge to help others; at 14, I didn’t understand what service meant. I didn’t start it as a freshman, and by the time I realized my error, I felt trapped into my other time commitments because of college admissions.
I’m not making the same mistake again. I want to serve others in college, and I want to do it in a way that utilizes what skills I have (at 18, relatively few). That’s my big goal for my extracurriculars at MIT- that in some small sense they better the condition of mankind.
I have to stop writing on this stupid, preachy note because my brother is making me. I hope this post is taken in the spirit in which it was intended. Time will tell.
Tomorrow I arrive in Massachusetts.