#Graduation2020: Life is What We Make It

May 13, 2020

 Life is what we make it. Class of 2020

Note from Lisa Niver:

I met Enock Makasi on March 24, 2016 when he was flying from Los Angeles, California to Salt Lake City on his way to his new home in Idaho and he was 15 years old. He had already flown from Uganda to Amsterdam and then California. He “was born in a country called Democratic Republic of Congo, 🇨🇩 faced war in the Eastern part of Congo, moved to Uganda🇺🇬 and then to the USA.” I encouraged him to write his story and he recently sent me this poem from his home in Twin Falls, Idaho where he goes to Canyon Ridge high school. He told me: “I came as refugee with IOM (International Organization for Migration) who helped us resettle in America and they sent us here to Twin Falls and helped us with housing, registration for school, social security card and other things.

In Feb 2019, he published this poem on my website: A Child of the Universe. He just finished his freshman year of college and wanted to share his graduation thoughts with the Class of 2020.


Everything happens for a reason. Most of you guys were born during the period  of 9/11, we all know what that means to all of us. In a time of pain and sorrows. An event that stayed and made our hearts bleed.


Now, we have the virus that’s affecting the whole world, not just you, but everyone at this moment. It’s true that whenever we expect something good to happen, yes there’s always that one thing that ruins the plan but it never changes the actual plan.

Yes, some of you had great plans for this year, but it seems like everything is falling apart. Your prom has been denied, the senior trip has been rejected and the graduation that you have been waiting for your entire life has been ruined. Ooh God, What did we do to deserve all this?


But, let’s not forget those that face tsunamis, wars, floods and all we can think of. What happens to them? Do they stop living their normal lives after the disaster? Do they stay in their current situation and deny change or they instead pick themselves up and move on?

Enock for his High School Graduation 2019

And that’s what life’s made of, we accept what it presents in front of us and keep moving forward.You all have a great future and yes I do believe you all do. There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about the things that are beyond our will.


Your history is not your destiny and will never be, but you will miss it if you keep hanging on to the past. The past where you wouldn’t believe in yourself. Never allow yourself to be controlled by these five things: the past, people’s opinions, relationships, limited beliefs and money.


The best way you can succeed in life is to fail big. You only live once, so do what you feel more passionate about, don’t be afraid of failing. Sometimes you will claim that life is meaningless, especially when you are going through tough times, like keeping your grades up in online classes, current situations about Corona or  having a job that consumes your time and it can sometimes be overwhelming. You will think of quitting but just get over everything but ask yourself  this question: why did you start all this in the first place? What’s your life’s purpose? Is it meaningful?


I remember having a mentor who had two jobs, two children, divorced and being full time students at college but through all her darkest moments, she found her purpose and made it a target. She was committed to her education and dedicated to provide for her infants with basic needs and wants and she made it in life.

So quitting is never an option, keep this in mind, once you put one step ahead, keep moving forward cause that will prove that you are progressing than putting a step back which proves to all of us that you are losing. But, when I look at most people, especially friends, they always complain about everything, even the simplest tasks. Others are good depending on mentors, they even claim that English is not their first language.

English is not my first language. I came from far east, across the mountains and seas, so English will never be my first language,  I understand but remember, being a refugee is never easy, being stateless is not a pride, having no identity is never profound. Being uncertain of tomorrow is not a strength.

Being called a refugee is not what I prefer because inside that refugee exists a human with family, passion, love, and charity. Inside that refugee exists a story of hope, a dream which may be blurry now but nonetheless a dream that could transform the world.

People may graduate with honors and pick a great career, but it can still make them feel unfulfilled. In life, we should always go beyond what’s required and never fear to go outside the box. That’s when I realized that the best way to succeed in life is to be creative in every step we make. Finding every way possible to succeed. Motivation is the key to education. I know it sounds crazy to be called an adult but as you grow older, everything changes.

Nothing will come easy on you, so don’t expect an easy life, we’ve got lots of memories to look up on the past, yet we still have more memories to look up to the future. Things get harder and harder but you know what, find your strength in your weakness. So let what stands on the way become the way. I believe in a bright future ahead.


Enock and friends for Prom 2019

Looking for more Graduation Wisdom? I loved Amy Chua’s article in the Wall Street Journal: “Hang In There, Graduates—and Don’t Make Excuses:”

“As you prepare to take on the world, I’d like to give you a few tips:

Go for it. Never avoid doing something because you’re afraid to fail. Everything in my life that’s been valuable and precious is something I was almost too scared to do.

Don’t make excuses. If something goes wrong, don’t blame others. Start with yourself.

Find your comparative advantage. I believe that every one of you has a slightly different gift to offer the world. Embrace it, and play to your strength.

Reject pettiness and bitterness. It’s a waste of valuable energy. Generosity will always make everything better. It will lighten your burdens and help you see the way.

Congratulations, Class of 2020, and good luck!”

Also from the Wall Street Journal, Nikki Haley’s advice in “An Attitude of Gratitude” was fantastic:

First, beware of social media. It destroys gratitude.

This brings me to my second piece of advice: Be thankful to be alive in America in 2020. At the U.N., I dealt with countries plagued by violence, lawlessness and intolerance. Even now, we are lucky that our legal system protects our rights. We are lucky to live in a country where we can freely choose our leaders and freely criticize them without fear of punishment.

Ms. Haley served as governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. from 2017 to 2018.

The “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” podcast will kick off on May 15th — just two days ahead of National Graduation Day (which is May 17th) — and will be available on iHeartRadio and everywhere else podcasts are heard. The speeches will also be featured on iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations across the country.

iHeartRadio knows how important the graduation ceremony is. After four long years of hard work, commencement offers one last moment to reflect before you toss your hat into the air and take on the world. We know that during these difficult times, most graduates won’t get to attend their ceremony in person. So, we’ve partnered with some of the biggest names across industries, to write a commencement speech just for you. From 4-star generals to all-star comedians, legendary coaches to John Legend himself, these are the words we hope will inspire you. Thank you to DORITOS® , State Farm® , T-Mobile and the 2020 Census.

“Dear Class of 2020″ is a virtual commencement celebration bringing together inspirational leaders, celebrities, and YouTube creators to celebrate graduates, their families, and their communities. Ring the bell to get notified when the stream goes live!

Featuring: President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, BTS, Lady Gaga, Sec. Robert M. Gates, Sundar Pichai, Sec. Condoleezza Rice, Malala Yousafzai

Special Appearances by: asapSCIENCE, Alicia Keys, Chloe x Halle, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, The Try Guys, Zendaya, Mr Kate Dude, Perfect Jackie Aina, Zane Hijazi

And many more!! Premieres Saturday, June 6 12pm PT / 3pm ET #DearClass2020#Graduate#WithMe

More information about the graduation assemblies

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