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 2012
A year ago, I was involved in a car accident on I-95 to New York. The car did not survive...
Sometimes I forget to breathe. My parents used to laugh when, as a defiant youngster, my crying fits often led me to near hyperventilation. "Keep breathing, honey..." they'd remind me...
I've loved the times in my life when I hadn't showered in several days, was eating dehydrated food, and had cuts and scrapes on my arms and legs...
I will build.
I built a car when I was six. A cardboard box drenched in watercolor and red crayon, with lids cut off to make four wheels, and a pizza tray bolted on for steering...
My wife Serap and I got married in June, 2009, on a boat on the Bosporus, and our family and friends from all over the world danced with us into the evening as the Istanbul city lights came alive...
"There's more than one way to carry money," my parents promised me over the phone.
Two weeks after my family and I emigrated from our homeland of Kiev, Ukraine, to New York City, I burst into tears at the thought of learning a new language and adapting to a new school.
I am a fighter.
I might not look like a heavyweight champion, given my petite stature and frame. But my fight is much more than a test of physical strength...
Perestroika (Russian: rebuilding). I was seven, and my mother hugged me as close as she could when outside our apartment in the centre of Moscow soldiers were shooting...
I will never forget the look in my mother's eyes when she walked through the front door of our house, moments before she told me that my older sister, 14 years old, had died...
"A doctor," "an actress," "a teacher," my 10-year-old friends eagerly volunteered during a birthday party as my friend's mother prompted: "what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Until January of 2010 I was following the script. I graduated from university, got a good job, moved to a bigger city, got married...
I want to laugh the loudest guffaw, be furious till I see red, cry the longest river, fear to the point of paralysis, and pine for an impossible love. Hopefully in reverse order...
"A kid got shot at the football game on Friday. Is he one of your students?"
When I was sixteen, I had three loves: martial arts, video games, and this really cute boy who sat next to me in Algebra II...