1. It is as important to hold back your words as it is to speak up.
It requires a tremendous and commendable amount of self-control. I know it’s popular to be loud about things, but the loudest voices aren’t always the wisest. It really is okay to think first, and react later, even if it means appearing like you don’t have an opinion. And if it hurts someone unnecessarily, maybe it really isn’t worth saying.
2. Your firmest beliefs will be challenged.
I came into Tufts with a Christian faith that looked very different than it does now. Nothing stays stagnant if it matters to you – you probe it uncomfortable with second opinions and questions. Sometimes this leads you towards conviction, and other times your convictions get pried out of the ground, completely uprooted, with a remaining “what now?” hanging in the air.
3. Your race matters.
It really, really, does. Speaking of which, there’s a new initiative to get Asian Diaspora graduation stoles, which I am behind fully, and you can sign up here. Coming from Chinese majority Singapore, race is hardly, if at all, a topic of dialogue, which inevitably made for a lot of pondering during my 4 years here.
4. ”You can’t control how other people view you, but you can control how you view other people.”
A quote picked up from my wonderful friend Ruth. No matter what you do, some people will always think you are lame. And that is okay, because there are others who love you for who you are. And you can be the bigger person.
5. There are many ways to get to where you want to be.
Not just a certain job with a certain car with a certain apartment with a certain spouse and a certain number of kids.
6. Be grateful.
Sometimes I close my eyes and think about the opportunities I have and the people who have shown me care and it makes my day.
7. You are not always right.
Believe it or not. And just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t mean they are wrong.
8. Your parents are human, too.
9. Be faithful in the little things.
Sometimes, the desire for greatness can get in the way of goodness. I was talking with a friend about graduation and she mentioned how we have such cool friends who are going off to India and Haiti and other far-off countries. While I agree, I think serving a small group of people faithfully and locally is just as important. If that means having a bible study with 3 people, or being a housewife, or doing administrative work for an NGO that you care about, so be it. The value is in life itself and how firmly you grasp it, not necessarily its expression.
Once in a while, someone trusts you with their life story. Don’t take it for granted.