How to live your life: Advice from an American student who was killed in Egypt
via Washington Post.
Andrew Pochter’s letter tells the boy that “What is most important is that I am trying to do my best for others. I want to surround myself with good people!” (AP)
Andrew Pochter, a 21-year-old Kenyon College student from Chevy Chase, Md., was stabbed to death on June 28 during anti-government protests in Alexandria, Egypt. Pochter, a bystander to the demonstrations, was in Alexandria on an internship for a non-profit organization to teach English to Egyptian 7- and 8-year-olds. His family said the young man “went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East. He had studied in the region, loved the culture, and planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding.”
Pochter’s compassion and his determination to make a difference had begun much closer to home. For most of the past five summers, starting when he was 16, he had volunteered as a counselor for a program called Camp Opportunity. It is a weeklong sleepaway camp for at-risk children, aged 6 to 12, from the Baltimore area.
Each camper is assigned his own counselor, and the relationship continues each year. In June, Andrew Pochter’s camper had turned 12, and was moving on from the program. Unable to attend the “graduation” picnic, Pochter sent the child a letter—one that summed up the way he was living his own life, and what he hoped to have passed along. It was read by Andrew’s sister Emily at Pochter’s funeral on Friday.
My favorite parts of the letter:
“Good friends do not come easily, but as a rule, I always appreciate the good deeds people do for me even if I don’t know them well. What is most important is that I am trying to do my best for others.”
“Your kind heart and genuine character serve as a model for me. I hope that you will never stop your curiosity for the beautiful things in life. Surround yourself with good friends who care about your future. Fall in love with someone. Get your heart broken. And then move on and fall in love again. Breathe life every day like it is your first. Find something that you love to do and never stop doing that unless you find something else you love more.”
“Don’t blame others for their mistakes. It makes you weak. You are a strong man who does not need to be weighed down by people who complain and say negative things. Speak with conviction and believe in yourself because your personal confidence is just as important as your education.”
(Text of Pochter’s letter is below the PDF):