The Best Advice I Ever Heard


When I was in high school, either my junior or senior year, I had an AP English teacher we’ll call Ms. S. Ms. S was fresh out of college and we were her first teaching job. To say she was in over her head as an AP teacher at a college prep is a bit of an understatement. But Ms. S was still amazingly kind and full of excitement for both literature and her students. She would sometimes start class with reminding us to stay passionate and do things just because we were young. One of those things was to protest.

One day, I don’t know how we got on the topic, but Ms. S told us the story of how her and her fiancee were almost arrested at a protest. The way Ms. S told it, it was dozens of college students versus some company who was polluting the world. She was often excited and enthusiastic, but it sounded odd in a story about almost having a criminal record. That’s when Ms. S gave us one piece of advice that has stuck with me after all these years: just because you are young doesn’t mean you can’t change the world.

I had always thought that the world was run by generations older than mine. True, in a democracy there is voting that everyone can participate in, but as an observant child I noticed that everyone in power, everyone able to make a difference, seemed to be a lot older than me. But that’s far from true. There are plenty of 20somethings, or even people younger, who have changed the world.

  • The Hong Kong Protests demanding more democracy were manned mostly by college students
  • Malala Yousafzai shed light on women’s education worldwide after surviving a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012
  • The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 might not have been so successful if women had not been involved. Many believe that the high number of women among protestors can be attributed to there being more educated women in Egypt now than in previous generations.

There are so many more examples than the ones I listed of young people, people my age, changing the world. Ms. S’s advice has stuck with me for years, and has affected just about every act I make. Just because we are young, or we don’t have decades of life experience behind us, doesn’t mean we can’t make the world a better place. You can be one person in a crowd moving towards progress, or you can be an individual who simply does the right thing for another human being. Either way, never let your age stop you from achieving amazing things.

Solana, Jesus. Go Spanish revolution! / Indignados! 22 May. 2011. Online image. Flickr. 7 Oct. 2014.


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