Commence: Advice for Graduates


This weekend, my oldest daughter will join the ranks of high school graduates and become an alumna of my alma mater.  It’s another significant event in her life, and it is one that warrants some words of wisdom, of which I have few.  As she ends one journey and begins another, though, I want to send her and the rest of the 2019 graduates off with these three pieces of advice:

  1. Have a plan, but prepare to deviate from it, either by choice or by chance. I entered my first year of college with a well thought out plan that mapped out my academic courses, my career path, and even whom I thought that I would eventually marry.  Fast forward to the end of my freshman year when every one of those plans had been discarded.  Every single one of them.  Some of them were my own doing, such as choosing a new major and career.  Other changes in plans were decided for me, not by me, such as the end of a serious relationship.  Regardless of how the change of plans occurred, I learned that just because things don’t go as planned does not mean that they will not go as they are supposed to in the end.  As much as I dislike uncertainty and not being in control, I came to the realization that if I left my heart and mind open, the answers would come to me that would enable me to formulate a new and, perhaps, better plan.
  2. Commit to being a lifelong learner. Sometimes, graduation gives us a false sense that we know it all, when, the reality is that we never will know it all.  We may know enough to be dangerous or to do a job well, but life is ever changing, and there is always something to be learned.  Always.  As important as what is taught in the classroom is, true learning happens in every day life.  On the job.  At home.  Traveling.  Meeting new people. Facing big and small challenges.  A diploma means that we successfully completed the necessary academic standards to graduate, but it’s what we do with that knowledge and what we continue to learn that matter most.
  3. Invest in relationships.  In business, it is said that it is not what you know, but who you know that is important.  While that very well may be true in the professional world, it is even truer when it comes to the people we surround ourselves with in our personal lives.  The relationships that begin in the confines of a classroom can become some of the most meaningful ones in our lives.  I am grateful beyond measure to have friendships that date back to kindergarten, and I am just as grateful for those friendships that did not blossom during our time at the same school, but that took off when our paths crossed years later.  In addition to my family, my friends have been there for my personal and professional challenges and successes, and investing in these relationships has paid off in countless and, sometimes, unexpected ways, such as discovering that the person who broke my heart in college led me to the person who would mend it and capture it over thirty years later.  More on that later . . .

Congratulations to the Class of 2019; commence and change the world, starting with your own!

That’s another story . . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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