Those are my words for the end of the term. Remember, work hard, and learn. Allow me to explain:
Merriam Webster dictionary defines "remember" as a word that doesn't need a dictionary definition. Seriously, though, you should all take some time at the end of the term to remember what has transpired this year. Students, think back all the way to August when you were going through Arena Scheduling for the first time. Think about the new West Campus building, and about the teachers you had and about the classes that you took. Remember that silly dance that your teachers performed for you, and how that will never happen again. Ever. Think about the friends that you made and about the work that you did, and about the learning that you demonstrated with that work. Fellow teachers and staff, remember how fresh and new the beginning of the year was, how full of inspiration you were, how full of drive and determination to make this the best year yet at RPA. If there are parents reading this, you, too can remember. Remember how many questions you had and how those questions were (hopefully) answered or at least addressed. Remember how your child was at the beginning of the year, and then, naturally, remember the child many years ago. How fast it all goes. How very, very fast.
Seniors, you get a special note here, for your remembrance will be especially poignant. Remember the first year of high school, whether it was here or somewhere else. My guess is that you all have a vague recollection of who you were then. Remember how awkward it all was, how strange and how new. Remember the learning that happened (or didn't) and the work that you did (or didn't). Remember how big and impressive the seniors seemed to be, how strangely grown up. Now you are the senior, and you give off the same impression as they did. Remember, then, the rest of the years. Some of you were at a different school and were going through the "normal" paces of high school. Some others were here, safely entrenched in the spirit of RPA. Regardless of where you came from, you are here now, and you are about to graduate. Remember who you were, and realize who you are, and then think about how fascinating it is to know who you will become. Always remember, though. Our memories are our surest weapons against Time.
This phrase seems a bit silly, if you think about it a certain way. If it's work, then it's hard, right? If it's easy, then it doesn't really qualify as work. Regardless of the type of work in which you are engaged, whether it be school work and studying for that last final or preparing for that last presentation, or grading papers and final assessments and planning for June-Term, or making sandwiches at Subway, or pouring lattes at a coffee shop, there's no reason to work easy. If you are engaged in a thing, you should work hard at it. This doesn't mean that it will be unpleasant, mind you. It simply means that the work you do will be done with vigor and with life behind it. Hard work doesn't have to be unpleasant. You make it pleasant just as you make it unpleasant. The work is there to do, and you get to decide how to approach it and how to finish it and how to think about it. So work hard.
Of course, the sappy teacher is going to bring up learning. At this point, you're probably thinking that I'm going to admonish those who did not learn what they were supposed to learn this year and came up short in demonstrating their proficiency in certain areas and subjects. Nope (although I kind of just did...). What I'm going to say is that at the end of the term, as you reflect and as you work hard, you should rest assured that you are learning whether you like it or not. Each day you spend on this earth provides you with an opportunity to learn, and if you dismiss that opportunity, that in itself is learning. Sure, there is learning to be done with reading, and tests, and assignments, and did I mention reading? You need to be learning about functions and how sines relate to cosines, and how to get your parents to co-sign on a car loan; about English grammar and essay writing and made-up people who teach us about real people; about the troposphere and chemical reactions and stoichiometry and how stoichiometry is nothing like Geometry and how a Geo Metro is nothing like either of those two; about throwing pots and about overthrown governments and about how to save someone choking on their own throw up (sorry about that - I was looking for another use of the word "throw"). That's the school part of the learning that you should be doing, and it is all valuable. Trust me: it is. But there's more.
There's learning who you are when "things" are easy and who you are when "things" are hard. There's learning about your goals and your drives and your dreams and how your past can shape your goals and drives and dreams. There's the learning that happens naturally as you grow and the learning that happens in a more contrived manner. Ultimately, there's learning about learning, and if you commit to that learning now, you will find that the other types of learning come quite fluently.
Hopefully this hasn't been too cliche. If it has, then remember to work hard at learning why writers sometimes use cliches and why, sometimes, life really is like a box of chocolates - or a highway - or a many splendored thing.
I hope you have been enjoying my words. There might be a word or two published over the summer, so stay tuned, you four or five wonderful people who have actually read this silly blog. Like as not, though, I'll realize I'm just an old man yelling at the sea to take its waves back, and this blog will recede into the ethereal place where blogs go to die.