Spring is one of my favorite times of year—it is truly a symbolic time of new beginnings, from the planting of crops to the blossoming of flowers around Ohio. Perhaps no other event better signifies the start of a new journey than graduation. Over the past few weeks and during the month of June, students from all parts of the country will walk across the stage, receive their diploma, and flip the tassel on their graduation caps. There will be celebrations and cake, handshakes and pats on the back, all to recognize this great accomplishment.
Earlier this year, I had the honor of providing the commencement speech at Wright State University’s graduation ceremony, marking a return to my alma mater. It was an extraordinary opportunity to visit the place that inspired and brought about the many paths I would take in my career, and as Speaker, I can say it has been an incredible ride. With this momentous occasion in mind, I want to congratulate every graduating Ohioan and impart a similar message to the one I gave at Wright State, especially to the graduates in my district.
My first piece of advice comes from one of my favorite phrases, one that has influenced my own life—“Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.” Great chances often come along once in a lifetime, and when they do, I encourage you to take that chance, whether that is to move across the country for your dream job or open your own business. It can take a lot of courage to make such a life-changing decision, but it is worth it. We can sometimes talk ourselves out of these great opportunities, letting self-doubt creep in and creating obstacles for ourselves, but I encourage you to consider this phrase and not think too long when the right set of circumstances presents itself.
In the midst of making important decisions and meeting people from all walks of life, the chaos of life and its many changes can make us forget what it’s all about. As you step out into your career or continue your education, remember to live and have a full life. It can be so easy to become consumed by life’s expectations that you forget to live. Live in the moment and pursue your dreams, your passions and relationships are what make this life most worthwhile.
I hope that as you embrace the summer months, you’ll take a moment to consider these words of advice and the guidance from your parents, teachers, and mentors. I don’t know what your stories will look like from here on out, but I can guarantee that they’ll be worth reading. So, as you graduate and take off in an array of different directions, I wish you the best of luck. Congratulations to the class of 2017!
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.