Math Grad Ball 2012 Speech
I’d like to talk for a few minutes about MCs -- missed connections.
First of all, how many people know what MCs are?
If you don’t know what a missed connection is, it is a post that describes a person you wanted to talk to or get to know, but couldn’t for whatever reason.
MCs have been a staple of independent local newspapers for some time, and they can also be found on OMGUW (http://www.omguw.com), as another professor made me aware of recently.
MCs are a blast to read. What makes them entertaining is that they are these short, mini stories of hope and unrequited dreams. For a brief moment, we are temporarily privy to the unfiltered, inner dreams of the people around us, and we have the privilege of seeing the world through their eyes. And when we do so, we typically see a bit of ourselves in the post.
What also makes these entertaining to read are the details people provide to describe the specifics of the encounter. These range from incredibly specific and idiosyncratic details, to those that could describe half of the population. These posts also provide a nice cross section of life.
Let me give you some excerpts from some recent MCs on OMGUW.
"To the girl working on fishies and hydroelectric dams..."
To "the cute brunette girl in the pink shirt in ENV3 Williams. We've looked at each other a few times, but you look too focused on your laptop for me to come say something."
"I know this is ridiculously late BUT to the Asian girl in PHIL215 during Winter2011 who always wears red lipstick and brings a coffee to class..."
And then, one of my favourites:
"Hey Eduroam, my laptop keeps missing a connection with you. Stop playing hard to get you LAN tease."
So why do I want to talk about missed connections? Because we have missed connections throughout our entire life, and not just with people.
Missed connections happen whenever we lack the courage to take a risk on something that could make our lives better. Maybe you want to take up a hobby like dancing, but are afraid you have no talent. Maybe you want to write a screenplay, but never feel like you have the time. Or maybe you want to become fluent in a foreign language, but are too afraid to make mistakes while speaking, so you never practice.
These are all missed connections and missed opportunities. The fear of failure and rejection overpowers us and prevents us from living a richer, fuller life.
You should overcome these fears and take risks on things that can improve and enrich your life.
Make time for things that will improve the quality of your life.
Pursue a new hobby.
Try new foods.
Travel, and see and experience the world.
And don't be afraid of other people.
Smile at people when you pass them. Not only will you feel better, it might just make their day.
So when you leave here tonight, strive to eliminate the missed connections in your life and experience life to is fullest.
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