Graduation speeches tend to be long, full of wisdom, and generally hard to remember. So instead, I’d like to present you with a list of 10 things I wish I had heard when I graduated.
10. You’re leaving childhood behind and gaining freedom—but you are also being handed lots of responsibilities. You’ll sometimes miss the carefree life of high school. That’s normal. Enjoy the memories, but know that what’s ahead is worth the effort.
9. Whatever label someone stuck on you in high school doesn’t apply now. You can be anyone you want. That’s real freedom.
8. Think about what things control you. Make sure they are good things. Freedom offers opportunities. Not all of them are good. Where you can be in 10 years depends on today’s choices.
7. Ask advice from older people. While it’s easier to talk to your peers, they’re probably as confused as you are, and their advice isn’t always the best.
6. You’ll still have your high school friends but will be making new ones. You’ll probably find there will be much less drama too.
5. Unless you’re ready to get married—both financially & emotionally, don’t get tangled in relationships. Enjoy your independence and making your own choices. Warning: There’s a reason they call relationships a “bonding” experience—it is derived from the word “bondage”.
4. Don’t blow your money. Decide if your purchase is for immediate pleasure or long term needs. Money is not plentiful for the newly independent. You’ll learn the definition of a want versus a need. You need food and rent.
3. Impulsive decisions are usually not good decisions. Give it the 5-5-5 Rule. You may be happy with this decision 5 minutes from now, but how about 5 days? 5 years?
2. You’ve already learned that each choice you make has some sort of consequence. But the choices you’ll be making now tend to last longer. Much longer.
1. The best way to make wise choices is to have your goal in mind. If the goal is worth it to you, you’ll work hard, make sacrifices, and make the choices to get it.
So there you have it from someone who graduated in the Dark Ages of last century. One last thing, you can learn through experience or by instruction. One can hurt more than the other, so take care. But right now you have some well-earned celebrating to do. Enjoy your journey.