In this day and age, the economy and financial troubles have become the crux of our concerns and the underlying theme of our efforts. However, it is in this time of rampant materialism and superficiality that it is most crucial to reevaluate what our true beliefs are and what we should aim towards as a society. I believe that the next generation of youth needs to lead the way towards societal progress; we must collectively use our knowledge and talents in order to pave the way towards bringing happiness to the lives of others.
For most citizens in this nation, primary education is the focus of childhood—for twelve years, kids across the country spend almost their entire day cultivating a knowledge base. It is extraordinary how much time and effort is cumulatively put into developing the minds of the growing youth. With so much energy consumed in such an endeavor, it is essential to have a central focus; I believe that this focus should be to learn not just for learning but for a broader purpose of using that knowledge to help others.
The possibilities for achieving this goal are endless. As we mature, I believe each one of us will find our place in the world, guided by our personal interests and experiences—we must, however, take the initiative to seek our niche in the great fabric of the universe.
Last summer, I traveled across the world to volunteer with the U.N. Refugee Agency in Hong Kong. For almost two months, I worked thirty-five hours a week to educate refugees from Somalia to Sri Lanka to Vietnam. With this experience, I was able to put my knowledge to practical use and use it to enrich the lives of others. The hopes would be that my lessons would help these refugees attain a better standing for potential resettlement in another country. Of course, small obstacles arose during this time, but in the end I found that there is nothing better than coming home knowing that you changed someone’s future for the better.
I believe that people need to put aside their selfish motives when searching for a true purpose in life. Things should not be done for the money or other materialistic incentives but for a true desire to bring joy or at least an inkling of hope to the lives of those without the things we take for granted. Our talents should be used not for personal gain but for societal progress. This I believe.