A few days ago, I was invited as the Chief Guest for the valedictory function of the Inter-College Fest held at an established college in my city. Saying that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.
I went there unprepared because impromptu speeches bring out the best in me. I still remember getting hit with a sense of deja-vu the moment I set my foot inside the college campus. Been there, done that! You get the drift, I am sure.
As I sat there mesmerized by the brilliant performances given by the gifted participants, I felt as if I was transported back to my own college days. The same enthusiasm, the same vibes, the same vivacity and the same zeal to conquer. What was different was, of course, the omni-presence of technology.
But, what I also observed is that this Gen Next is so much more confident and aware than we were.
So, when I was called on the podium to address a large auditorium brimming with the energy and exuberance of immensely talented collegiates, I wondered what must I be telling them. What can one say to the generation that is so sure about themselves and so clear about what they want in life?
You tell them that it is alright to be unsure and figure out things along the way.
You tell them that we must learn to own our decisions and not indulge in blame game when things go wrong.
You tell them that the fear of making mistakes should not be a deterrent in their journey because there is beauty in faltering and rising. The learning they will acquire from it will not be found in the best of books.
You tell them that they are fortunate that in today’s era they have exposure and scope in various fields and they should pursue the path they wish to tread on irrespective of what the world thinks about it.
You tell them that they should define their own parameters for success as it is an individual perception.
You tell them that there is nothing such as “wasting education” if they choose to make a career in a space different from their qualifications, because education goes much beyond just learning about a subject.
You tell them that whatever they become in life, honesty and humility are the virtues that will take them far ahead, more than anything else.
You tell them that they should never say never and always be willing to learn, unlearn and re-learn. There is so much within all of us that it takes a lifetime to discover our own selves.
The applause that followed was humbling and gratifying. I was glad I could connect but then I began to ponder. How on earth did I manage to talk so much sense on the spur of the moment?
I realised that my own journey of finding my path after resigning from a lucrative IT job has enriched me in multifarious ways. While the tangible effects of it were visible along the way, precious pearls of wisdom had seeped inside me tacitly. I am glad I could share life lessons from my varied experiences and pass on something worthwhile to those who give us hope for a better tomorrow.
This day will always be memorable for me because it gave me some parenting insights as well inadvertently. Unsolicited they might be at times, but I would sure want to impart these valuable pieces of advice to my daughter too as she grows up.