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“The audacity of youth – to dream big”
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“The audacity of youth – to dream big”

The unique opportunity to set big goal creates the framework for what Ariana Joseph, 17, a Correspondent from Antigua and Barbuda now studying in Canada,  describes as the audacity of youth. 

In my previous article I focussed on the initiatives of the young people of the Potters Seventh Day Adventist Church Youth Group as they strive to address issues of climate change. While their actions are commendable, there are greater challenges to which their youthful vigour and talent will be summoned. I was reminded of this fact at a recent awards ceremony.

The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Education Awards and Presentation Ceremony celebrated the outstanding achievements of students at the 2016 Caribbean Examination Council Examinations at the level of Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate.

This year’s top student, Akanii Simon, successfully negotiated seventeen subjects, with distinction in 16 of them. However, his performance only paints part of the picture of the audacity of our students in the recent past. Some have dared to write and pass over 20 subjects during one examination cycle, and every year their successors have raised the bar. My graduating class of the Christ the King High School was fortunate to receive the most Gold Awards at the ceremony, and by our performance signaled to our successors that they need to eclipse our gold standard.

The featured speaker at the ceremony was the islands’ top certificate student in 2001, Dr. Shivon Belle-Jarvis. She challenged us as young scholars to dream big, asserting that if we are not scared by our dreams then we need to rethink those dreams. The Minister of Education, the Hon. Michael Browne, also exhorted us to be different. The call for dreams that scare and the call to be unique are essentially clarion calls to be audacious.

It is against this backdrop that I came away from the ceremony with the notion of the audacity of youth. Looking back across the corridors of time, I observe defining characteristics of persons who have been responsible for some of the seminal achievements of western civilization. Two of those notable characteristics are that they were young and they were audacious in their aspirations and in their achievements.

As youths, we are by virtue of our innocence inquisitive. We dare to dream big; and our ideas are not hemmed in by either the conservatism that comes with age nor the sobering experiences of longevity.  We consider Innocence and inquisitiveness as powerful assets that complement creative genius. History has shown that genius blossoms and reaches its pinnacle in the prime of youth.

Youthful genius comes with a confidence and swagger that belies inexperience and vulnerability. Occasionally, setbacks are encountered. At other times it attains revolutionary achievement in the advancement of our civilisation and an improvement in the quality of life. We succeed against all expectations because the notion of success is deeply embedded in our psychic rubric. Hence, we are not deterred by the prospect of failure. The unfettered freedom of our imaginations leads us to bold experimentation and great achievement.

The youth today must embrace this audacity in order to be an effective change for good. The world is faced with a number of challenges that pose risk to health, national security, and a host of other issues. Youths have a vested interest in ensuring that there are solutions to these problems, otherwise the security and well-being of future generations will be imperiled.

Now is no time to relax and pat ourselves on the shoulder for past achievements. The problems of the world cry out for urgent attention. While the older generation have a stake in the present, our generation and generations unborn must place our stock in the future. Hence, not only should we dream big, so big that our dream frighten us, but we must also marshall all of our creative talent and energies to rise to the fierce urgency of the present.

At age 15, Einstein mastered differential and integral calculus. At age 26 years, he had given the world the theory of relativity and laid the superstructure for his revolutionary ideas. The youthful Alexander conquered the then known world before he met his demise at age 32. Isaac Newton made his ground-breaking discovery in calculus before his 30s. The list of youthful achievers is extensive, but one thing is sure: The next great achiever belongs to our generation. Whether the issue is peace, greenhouse gases, food security, or cyber security, the challenge to fix it belongs to us.

We should not strive to be a carbon copy Einstein or Newton. We should dare to be different. However, like them we should be audacious in our dreams and aspirations. So let us dare to dream, dare to aspire. We may just surprise ourselves with the outcome of our audacity.

photo credit: NicoTrinkhaus Menorca Star Trails via photopin (license)

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About me: My ambition is to become a cardio-thoracic paediatric surgeon. In preparation for this, I have commenced undergraduate studies focusing on a double major in biology and chemistry. Once I have completed my undergraduate studies, it is my intention to obtain a medical degree, pursue research studies in genetics, and eventually establish a medical services centre.

I have a passion for reading, writing, playing the violin, and engaging in community service projects. I am presently enrolled at Saint Mary’s University, Canada.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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