Reprinted with permission from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20130521095314-217978279-class-of-2013-get-a-passport-and-start-using-it-in-wild-places
Class of 2013:
Get a Passport and Start Using It
JOGGING MY MEMORY back to my university days I earned my bachelors and masters degree from Boston University, and a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology - I have to admit I dont recall attending my graduation ceremonies, or perhaps they simply didnt stand out in a vivid way. My high school commencement address stood out, though not so much because it was clever or funny, but because it crystallized for me the notion that hard work and discipline were the keys to success, and to a life beyond the confines of my hometown.
I was among the hopeful young graduates in cap and gown at Wellington C. Mepham High School on Long Island in New York. I remember the stern disciplinarian Mr. Calhoun, our principal, giving the speech. In retrospect, it may actually have been someone else who gave the speech, but its the searing eyes of Mr. Calhoun that remain embedded in my memory even to this day. He said we had to work hard and study in order to become successful in life. There was certainly nothing revolutionary there, but at the same time, the message that there were no shortcuts to success resonated with me. This was an idea the late Sir John Templeton, someone I deeply admire, also espoused.
I believe travel
not only widens your view of the world, but gives you the motivation
and perspective to help guide your future, more so than some
standardized aptitude test. I wish I had taken that step when
I graduated from high school. Even though my parents were immigrants,
I never thought to visit other countries. It was many years later
after I had graduated from college that I began to see the world.
It was an epiphany to me, the beginning of an entirely new life.
If I had taken that trip after high school I probably would have
made earlier and better preparations for what I ultimately decidedand
was destinedto do. The opportunities today for high school
graduates are virtually unlimited. The internet brings the world
to your doorstep; not only to learn instantaneously about other
places and make fast and cheap travel arrangements, but to make
connections with people on every continent and in every time
zone. But turning those electronic connections into real human
connections is truly life-changing.