Jenny Taing's graduation speech about 'small dreams'

Editor's Note: Graduation speeches can be quite inspirational. At the Milford Mirror, one of our favorites this year was Jenny Taing's. Jenny gave the Salutatorian speech at Foran High School Tuesday. Dreaming big is fine, Jenny said, but it's okay to dream small too. Read her speech below:
Joseph A. Foran High School
Jenny Taing
Salutatorian, Class of 2012
Graduation Speech, June 19, 2012
To see us sitting here today, the class of 2012, it makes me think back to how it all started. I remember at my preschool graduation, we were all lined up in a row on the gym floor, dressed in our nicest clothes that I’m sure were destroyed 10 minutes later with cake stains and grape juice. But beforehand they were going down the line and asking each kid to declare their dream jobs. Future nurses, veterinarians, and firefighters filled the room. When it came to be my turn, I stood up tall, fingers clutching the hem of my yellow dress, and proudly declared, “When I grow up, I want to be . . . an elf.” And when everybody burst out laughing I was embarrassed, and couldn’t figure out what was wrong about it. The way I saw it, they had a good life. They were surrounded by toys all day and were closely acquainted with the elusive Santa Claus, whom we’ve all hoped to see on Christmas Eve. And don’t forget about the unlimited candy canes. But as well as I planned it, I know now that I will never become the elf my four year old self hoped to be. Which is a good thing.
For our whole lives, we’ve always been asked about the future. What do you want to be? What college, what major? What is your dream? And for many of us, that last one is a difficult question. Sometimes we feel like dreams are only for those who are extremely passionate, or those who have a talent. And then we worry because we feel like not having one means that we are lacking in some way. Everyone always says to dream big. But I think, sometimes its okay to dream small. Dreams don’t have to be lifelong journeys; they can be short and simple. In sixth grade, my dream was to learn to talk in a British accent. Later on, my dream was to retrace my family’s journey, by visiting my grandfather’s village in China and my father’s village in Cambodia.
These little dreams may seem nothing more than random impulses in life. But truthfully, they have the ability to describe you so much better than you can describe yourself. They helped me to realize that my dream today, as a graduating senior, doesn’t involve myself, but involves the world. So take the time to invest in every interest, whim, and dream. Even if it doesn’t lead to an epiphany, or a brand new outlook on life, you’ll enjoy the journey. And that’s all we can ask for. Don’t be afraid to dream small, and to dream big. Dream as often as you dream in sleep. And don’t be surprised if your dreams change. Our futures may be unpredictable, but I hope that you, the class of 2012, have the courage to live an uncertain life, and the courage to dream out loud.