Each year we ask our classmates a straightforward, simple question taken from the last lines of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mary Oliver. We share with you intimate and candid responses to this question, "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself
out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out
of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and
forth instead of up and down -
who is gazing around with her
enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and
thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open,
and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down
in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how
to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Class of 2003
Be curious - never stop asking questions
But remain open-minded and heed all suggestions.
At age 15, I spent the summer as an exchange student in France, and the world of a small-town girl from New Hampshire opened up.
Be happy. Eat mangoes. Pursue my passions. Sing in the stairwell. Laugh like a hyena.
English author E.M. Forster wrote a mantra for the Moderns; it was this: "only connect."
Like many people here
I've spent the most of my years
Preparing for my future
Deciding on my career.
When I was a child, I wanted to be an actor, a secret agent, a novelist, a mathematician, a psychoanalyst, a magician and maybe, live in the jungle with gorillas.
Financial theory suggests that debt creates value. So,
I want to spend my life accumulating more debt...
Ethics of the Fathers: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"
When we came to Harvard Business School we had to squash our lives onto a one-page resume.
As I graduate from HBS my goal is not only to lead people, but to lead by inspiring them.
Today, roughly thirteen million refugees struggle to fulfill their basic needs each day.
"Honor and Shame
From No condition rise
Do well thy part
Therein all the honor lies."
I plan to trek past the border. Through the wastes and wealth of a bewitching and bewildering terra incognita I will travel day by day.
I will work long hours, endure stress, and use PowerPoint... lots of PowerPoint.
"When I grow up, I am going to be a judge, a senator... or maybe even president! Oh no you're not, little girl..."
A single, impoverished mother, only 15 years old, gave birth to the first baby I delivered in medical school.