We, as people, just cannot stop moving. But what are we moving towards? Jeffrey has an idea.

Chances are, if you are reading this, you are extraordinarily lucky. You are at a great university, getting a degree for whatever it is you are studying, and on your way to live the rest of your life with a well-paying job. You are here because of the chain of events that constitute your life, some caused by chance others by choice and others somewhere in between. It’s a blessing. How else could you describe it? I’m still amazed at the opportunities that I have had not only at NC State, but throughout my life. The mix of choices and fortunate events led to the position where I am at now. However, it’s easy to get caught up in it all and forget the people whose chain of events led to a very different outcome. On the journey that is life, we may all try to walk in a particular direction, but the changing landscape of the present and future blocks the way for some, delays others, and expedites the passage of a few.  Regardless, we as a collective whole move forward toward whatever destination we may end up at despite our best efforts to go elsewhere.

We are a people in motion.

Don’t take your gifts for granted. Find your way to give back to the community at large and keep moving forward. Maintain that inertia that got you to where you are now and use it to pull others forward with you. I’ve met some great people here who realize this and dedicate themselves to improve the well-being of their communities. When we are altruistic and upraise those around us, we collectively gain momentum and move forward, breaking down the resistance of the circumstantial terrain of time through sheer force of numbers. Why else would we have “E pluribus unum,” as our nation’s motto? It means “out of many, one.” The very ideal of a democracy involves cooperation and discussion of different perspectives in order to better represent the general will of the people. However, you can think about ideal all you want, but it means nothing if it isn’t put into practice and made into something real. In other words, we can think about how things could be better, but nothing will get done until someone does something. Even then, it means nothing until that person gains support from his community and they gain momentum as a movement.

Don’t take your gifts for granted. Find your way to give back to the community at large and keep moving forward.

Whether you are working, studying, or on your way to a vacation, you are in motion. The term motion describes us very well. We are always moving towards something in a metaphorical and literal sense. Part of what makes us human is that we are never satisfied with what we have. We want to continue growing in every sense of the word, but we are still subject to chance. We are still subject to whatever may happen, and we are not in control of everything that can affect us. That’s why it is a blessing to be where we are, and why it is our moral obligation to pay it forward. That’s why we have to increase our collective momentum by taking care of each other and being genuinely altruistic.

We are explorers by nature, and as a result, we must move. Just take a look at Space X. Those people are not content with simply exploring earth. They want to move beyond earth and begin colonizing Mars. Having that dream and the wherewithal to bring scientists and engineers who share that dream is a monumental task. Everyone has to do their part and contribute to their goals. The same goes for the organization Child Rights and You, or the Special Olympics. It is a monumental task to have a dream and bring people in to share it with. It is a monumental task to gain momentum and create something truly great and meaningful, but once it gets started, then the possibilities are endless.

The remarkable people in these organizations aren’t lone wolves trying to do it on their own. They are a community of people who work for a set goal and are constantly on the lookout to bring in new members to grow and contribute to their goals. If they are capable of that, then so are we as a community at NC State or even as part of the collection of communities in North Carolina. That’s why the Goodnight Scholar’s motto is “Pay it Forward.” Take the gifts you’ve been given and use them to prepare the way for those that come after us, such that the momentum we build today can carry them into a brighter future.