*Creative Commons photo by Werwin15
*Creative Commons photo by Werwin15

Sometimes politics, the news from the courts, and the economy can take over the media and paint a daunting picture. 

But the reality is, there are a lot of positive things going on, especially with the young people of Bermuda. 

That is why I’d like to take some time out to recognize them — in particular, the graduating class of 2014.

You’ve made it! Those weekends full of homework, tireless nights of studying and long days of school have all proved to be worth it. 

Graduating is no small task; it shows that you have exemplified fortitude, perseverance and determination to push through to the end. For that, I must commend you. For some of you it was a breeze, for some it may have been a struggle; but for both it is a success to be remembered.

I’m sure you all have goals, ambitions, and aspirations for a world that is waiting for you, whether you are ready or not. Every night you will have the opportunity to continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and make them your reality. I implore you to do the latter.

I’ve learned a few things since graduating from high school at a very young age. Allow me to share with you some advice-based on my experiences thus far, that I believe will assist you on your journey.

Like-minded friends

Firstly, keep no company around you that you cannot learn from or build with. It’s often said that we become like the five people we spend the most time with. As a young man I didn’t always make the best choices of friends. 

Although I was goal-orientated and knew where I wanted to go in life, I associated with people that didn’t have the same mindset. This proved to be a flaw in judgment, a lesson I had to learn the hard way. 

Look at your circle of friends and associates, evaluate whether you are headed in the same direction. If not, now is the time to cut ties from them and surround yourself with like-minded individuals that share similar goals and aspirations. After all, association breeds similarity.

I’m sure that a lot of you have big dreams. Never allow anyone to convince you that your goals and aspirations are too big to have as a young person. 

Make your dreams like when mama used to buy your clothes when you were little — a little too big so that you can grow into them.

Don’t be afraid of failure. When it feels as if you’ve tried everything but it just has not worked out, just think to yourself, “I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work”. 

Positive thinking goes a long way. We must understand that nothing in life is worth it unless we take risks. Risks have to be taken in order to reap great success. You may not have a great start but you have to start to be great.

Don’t be afraid of failure or mistakes. It was with my greatest failures that I learned life’s greatest lessons.

Failure and success

Reggie Jackson struck out 2600 times in his career. The most in the history of baseball. But you don’t hear about the strikeouts, you hear about the home runs. Thomas Edison failed at his first 1,000 experiments, but you don’t hear about those because experiment number 1,001 was the invention of the light bulb. 

Every failed experience is one step closer to success. Never give up on your dreams. If you hang around the barbershop long enough, sooner or later you’re going to get a haircut. Stay determined.

Be open to the lessons that life throws at you; although at times the lessons are extremely humbling, they are necessary in preparation for what we will encounter in life. We must be able to walk through life eager and open to improvement. 

Perpetual student

Although you are a graduate, I urge you to forever remain a student, a student to the best teacher of all time, life. Life is always teaching us lessons. The thing about the classroom of life is that it gives the test first, and the lessons after.

Once again, I congratulate all of those who graduated this year. This is not the finish line but rather a pit stop on the road to success. You all are to be commended on the hard work and persistence you’ve clearly displayed thus far.

Graduating class of 2014,  you are the quintessential example of brilliance that society should acknowledge more often. Keep up the good work, and remember, “To get something that you’ve never had you’ve got to do something that you’ve never done”. 

Eron Hill, an 18-year-old former member of Bermuda’s Youth Parliament and the Bermuda National Debate Team, is now an aspiring lawyer and legal understudy working at Compass Law Chambers under the tutelage of local barrister and attorney, Charles Richardson. 

Feedback: eronhill@live.com