J.K. International, detailing the heartbreaking stories of others,

J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard Commencement speech, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination”, focuses on three main life lessons for the graduating class. Firstly, she speaks about going after one’s dreams, regardless of what others may have envisioned for them.  Rowling then goes on to explain that her parents wanted a lucrative vocational career for her. She decided to go her own direction, and study what made her happy; the Classics. Second, Rowling emphasizes that even though a person may experience failure, success can still be born from it. She shows evidence of this point by going into detail about her struggle with poverty, and finally finding success by putting all of her efforts in her work. Lastly, Rowling ends her speech with a gripping depiction of her time at Amnesty International, detailing the heartbreaking stories of others, who had fought back against oppression and lost. She goes on to say that even though she had not experienced such situations herself, hearing such stories and seeing the pain of those effected, caused her to use her imagination to show increased empathy to those who suffer. At the end of her speech, Rowling urged the graduates to use their imagination, rights, and skills they process, to make the world a better place, whilst keeping their friendships from Harvard University. In this powerful speech, one quote in particular stands out. Rowling states, “You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity”. This quote means, until someone struggles, they know nothing about who they truly are and if they can handle what life throws them. They also are unaware if their relationships could handle such hardships under strain. By facing adversity, a person finds their inner strength and true relationships.Furthermore, this quote spoke to me because not too long ago, I was in a situation eerily similar to J.K. Rowling. It was 2009, and I was convinced I was going to marry my then girlfriend, Tiffany. My family did not like nor trust her, and in hindsight I see why. Due to my family’s distain for Tiffany, they discontinued all communication with me. I soon discovered I was going to embark on the hardest journey of my life so far, alone. Only a short time into our marriage, Tiffany and I began to struggle. She decided she was not going to work, leaving me to be the breadwinner for our family. I did not mind this, so long as she was helping in the home. I thought things were going to turn around, until I noticed Tiffany’s new habits. She spent quite a bit of time on the internet, and our savings was disappearing. Then one day, I came home from work early to an unfaithful wife and an empty bank account. Not only did Tiffany break my heart, she left me penniless. Still without a family, I filed for divorce. After staying single for a while, I found my strength to move on. In 2012, I met my best friend and beautiful wife, Kathleen. On April 25, 2015 we married, and on that day, I not only gained a wife, but a new family. Her parents took me as their son, and I was abandoned no longer. Looking back, I feel I know what J.K. Rowling’s words truly mean. I lived them.  In conclusion, I met my true self in the face of adversity and discovered the strength of true relationships. My journey was difficult and painful. However, through my experience, my life has changed in the most positive way. I gained a new family and am stronger than ever. I was tested by adversity, and I survived.

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