Since freshman year, at roughly 7:45 in the morning I drive past Guatepan, the Mexican bakery in Hightstown on my way to school. And every morning, at roughly 7:45 they would be unloading cakes from the truck into the bakery. Rain or shine, the cakes were always there. No matter what was going on in the world, or in my life, the cakes were there. Seeing those cakes provided me with the stability and reassurance I needed to start my day.
In college, everything will change. Our surroundings, our friends, the food we eat, and Harry Mooney is going to dye his hair blue. All this change is unsettling.
We don’t know how college is going to affect us. But I think the scariest part is that we don’t know how it will affect the ones we love.
I know I will still be the same old me no matter what. But what if my friends change? What if Peddie changes? What if I come back and my little sister is taller than me? So, I discovered that the scary thing about change is not the unknown that lies ahead, but losing what I have now.
And now that I know the root of my fear, it makes the change a lot easier to accept. We all have the power to jump into this change head on, and take advantage of the new opportunities. And if we’re lucky, we know that the bonds we’ve made here are strong enough to withstand the changes we’re about to go through. And I truly believe that everyone in this chapel is that lucky.
In the spring of my freshman year, I was sitting in the Masland room. I turned to my friends Alanna and Erin and said “I think I’m gonna run for class rep!” So, overcome with excitement and confidence I ran to the dean’s office to pick up my petition, which of course was due the very next day. I got my 50 signatures, wrote my candidate statement and handed in my form hopeful but not sure what the outcome would be. Anyways, I got elected, then reelected, then I was lucky enough to become elected co-president. About 5 ½ months ago I stood in this very spot to deliver the convocation speech with DJ. We told you all that you had the opportunity to write the legacy of this year, to essentially make it a good year, or not.
And as the year progressed, we all worked to find that perfect balance of routine and new experiences. I try to maintain the routine structure of my days, while filling each day with a unique purpose.
This morning’s reading from Lauren Graham contains a message that I needed to hear. It says “when your plan has the last laugh, laugh back, laughing!”
Essentially, when things don’t go as you planned, when you didn’t do well on the test you thought you aced, when the person in the imaginary conversation you planned in your head didn’t stick to their script, when the unexpected happens, don’t let your plan laugh at you. Take the time to adjust your mindset and proceed. I had to learn this lesson two years ago.
It was the fall of my sophomore year – the Monday of Blair Week, when I got in a bad car accident on my way to school. I certainly didn’t plan on sporting my cheetah print One-Direction onesie in the hospital that day. I definitely didn’t plan on missing all of Blair Week and the end of fall term due to my resulting concussion. I didn’t plan on sitting in my living room on Blair Day listening to livestream of the football game and folding socks instead of storming the field in Blairstown. However, I adjusted my routine and focused on what I could until I was back where I wanted to be (which, by the way was here at Peddie).
My new routine that fall became sleeping as much as possible, baking, and petting my dog all day. Though this was not my ideal routine, it actually made my junior and senior Blair Weeks that much better.
Routine is not a bad thing. Trust that the mixture of stability and freedom in each day will encourage you to take risks while relying on the foundation you’ve built. When plans go awry, take advantage of the new opportunity in front of you. Or conversely, when you feel yourself being sucked back into that rut, make the conscious decision to get out. Introduce yourself to someone new, debate with a teacher, try a new sport, run for class rep… You never know what may come of it.
And trust me, I get it: Life can be hard. But the one thing that can save you is perspective. Whether you biggest problem is that they ran out of your favorite cereal at breakfast, or having serious family problems, having the right perspective will help guide you over that bump, no matter how big.
Life without the cakes has proved not to be as bad as I feared. This has been an amazing year, probably shaped by a sudden urge I had to run for rep 3 years ago in the Masland. And even though I don’t have the visual reminder of the cakes, as I enter the Peddie campus every morning, I get the same sense. I have the authority over my life and the ability to make every day a good one.
So Peddie, make it a good day………or not. The choice is yours.