By John Gardner
It is normally about this time that Sophomores & Juniors, start to realize that their older friends they’ve look up to, learned from and leaned on, are graduating, have graduated or are gone – and if they dwell on it, they can get down about the next (new) year. Don’t!
This is not a new or unique situation. It happens every year. So I would like to encourage you and others who have thought the same thing about graduated friends…. to consider a couple things.
First, if this note is speaking to you it is a compliment. As you think back during your Freshman and Sophomore years, there were Juniors and Seniors who accepted you into their friend circles, right? Those became strong and meaningful relationships and I suspect you gained from their experience and insight – and from their friends. And now, for those who are Juniors this year, the last of those friends will be graduating this semester and you feel alone. You look at those in your class or younger, who maybe don’t demonstrate the qualities you admired in your older friends. Immature, maybe? Fair enough.
Now, I’m going to ask you to try to get past the perfectly rational feeling that you’re losing some valuable friendships, and also past the probably correct conclusion that some of those in the classes younger than you are “less mature” than you….and consider that now it is YOUR turn to be the upperclass mentor who can do for others what was done for you.
Now it is YOUR turn to be the mature upperclassman for those younger. You know what it takes, better than they. You know what you want, better than they. So my question for you is, what are you going to do about it?
Perhaps you feel a little inadequate, like you’re not as ‘good’ as your mentors. You know what I think? I think you ARE. As you step into the leadership role, you know what I think? I think you CAN.
If this note seems like I’m writing it specifically to you, then you probably have already been a “step it up” kinda person. That’s one of the reasons you’ve been comfortable around those older. Now it is YOUR turn to step into major leadership; to replace those who are leaving and to set the tone for those coming in and for those who are already looking up to you. NOW IT IS YOUR turn! YOU’RE READY. BE A LEADER. BE A MENTOR. BE A FRIEND….and we’ll all be the better for it, including YOU!
Thanks for reading,