, Salem, MA


May 28, 2013

Column: A letter to the graduating class of 2013


Take what you’ve learned at school and share it with everyone you meet. Tell stories, all kinds of stories. And while you’re busy doing all of this, the world will become bigger and smaller at the same time. Walk more, drive less, eat better, buy local, hug children, pet cats, play games, tell jokes, and you will change everything. You will create a world in which a social network is more than a computer application; it will be an actual set of connections between human beings. You will create a world in which laughter is not medicine; it will be a genuine expression of enjoyment. You will create a world in which the value of human life is not determined by net worth; it will become an essence which no man or god could ever price.

I have no doubt you can prove the world wrong. Before you begin the job search, or move on to graduate school, or do whatever it is you plan to do after graduation, I ask you to complete one final task: go out into your communities and do something you’ve never done before. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you are visible. Pick up a bouquet of carnations and hand them out on the street. Call a local charity and offer them your time, your expertise. Make something for a friend. Relish their smiling face. Take a long walk with your dog, without your cell phone. Sing karaoke. And let the world see from the first that you are not what they’ve expected. Live well in your places and success, deep and full of sensation, will be your legacy.


Nicole Douglass graduated May 18 from Salem State University, where she majored in professional writing and minored in political science.

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