The standing ovation lasted so long that Chris had to come back out on the stage to take another bow.  For the past hour, all of us in the auditorium had sat transfixed by his piano-playing prowess as he performed Bach, Schubert, and Liszt from memory with incredible passion and precision, and we weren’t about to let him leave without showing our appreciation for his skill.  Piano is clearly Chris’s gift, but he wasn’t born with the ability to sail through sonatas and produce perfect preludes.  He’s been studying the art for four years here at college, and probably for a long time before that, and he’s put in countless hours of practice and training to reach the level of ability that he now holds.  He’s sacrificed his time and energy for and prioritized his life around the pursuit of this skill because he knows it’s what he wants to do, and that drive and purpose is perhaps even more impressive than the skills they’ve produced.  As I wrap up my first year at school, I look at Chris and wonder what my life will look like in three years.  When I’m a senior, with four years of study behind me, I want to be able to work at my chosen profession as an author with the same level of confidence and ability, but I know that it won’t come automatically.  I can’t expect to coast through school and come out an accomplished writer.  First, I have to accomplish some writing, and that means hard work and dedication.  I have to make time to write, even when I don’t feel very creative, and I have to be willing to just keep writing even when I don’t like what I see.  I have to go back and edit it and make it into something better because if I don’t, no one will.  I have to take a lesson from Chris: these four years at school are full of potential to learn and improve at what I was made to do.  It’s an opportunity I’ll never have again, and if I seize it now great things can come of it.  I can’t afford to let a moment go to waste, and neither can you.  Don’t miss out on today, because it’s an opportunity you’ll never have again.  Pursue what matters, take hold of every chance you have to improve, and in three years you’ll look back and be surprised at how far you’ve come.


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