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2021 OBHS Prefect - Patrick Sefo Cloughley

The Last Word

Patrick Sefo-Cloughley —

Throughout your years of life and living, do you regret anything you have done?

Do you wish you could have stopped yourself from raising your voice louder to talk over someone? Do you regret screaming at your mother? The one that gave birth to you. That is what you call regret.

Now this Last Word is going to be very different to what is usually done. I don’t want to stand behind the lectern because I want to interact with you, I want you to see me as an equal not as someone who wears a different tie to you. I don’t want you to see me as someone with authority over you. I want you to see me as an ordinary person. 

I am going to tell a story.

I enjoy school, unlike most people, I do enjoy it. At previous schools, I didn’t get on well with the teachers. The teachers didn’t like me and I didn’t like them, it was a mutual thing. But at Dunedin North Intermediate, I had this one teacher. Now this teacher, he used to always talk to me, and he would tell me off for the things I did that were apparently incorrect. He always held me back in class and it was thrilling, getting told off by a middle-age man. But one time he held me back after class, "Patrick, there isn’t anything worse in your life than regret." Of course I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but as I was walking home, I had to walk by myself because all my friends left due to me staying behind. I thought about it, like I really thought about that for the first time. That’s such an amazing thing to think about, "there is nothing worse than regret". You can not change what has already been done. I don’t mean free license to do stupid stuff, but you should live a life where you don’t have anything to regret, this became my motto. There is nothing worse in life than regret, how annoying is that when there comes a time where you have to make a decision.

So after that, I finished Dunedin North Intermediate and now Otago Boys’ High School with that in my head. There is nothing worse than regret, there IS nothing worse than regret. I thought people are blind to opportunities that are directly in front of them. People say "you’re so lucky, you get all of the breaks". No, they just take those opportunities. They aren’t blind to seeing a good chance of success. So spot the opportunities, don’t miss out.

Regret is such a powerful plague in life. During my time at DNI, I was at a low point in my life. What does it matter? We have all had these moments. 

There is nothing worse in life than regret, it has still been my motto to this day. I changed my mindset, I took most of the opportunities that were in front of me. I took up weightlifting, CrossFit, work with the DCC, jobs, kapa haka, speech competitions. It got to the point where I looked at my calendar and realised I had no more days left, I had bare minimum of free time. Did I miss meeting up with my friends, absolutely, did I miss being with my family, of course, but do I regret it, NO, because there is nothing worse than regret. So take the opportunities that are in front of you at school, outside of school, take them because you never know if they’re going to come back around.

Continuing with tradition, I am going to end with a quote. This quote however is my own. "You only have a limited amount of time and energy in your day, regret is a horrible way to spend it."