High school is a different experience for everyone. For some it’s a happy time with friends and fun and extracurriculars. For others it’s a serious academic endeavor. And for others it’s no fun at all. School is lonely, stressful, and possibly filled with bullies or academic struggles.
Whatever group students fall into there’s a common denominator – graduating high school is an exuberant time for just about everyone. It’s a threshold experience that marks departure from childhood into adulthood, and into a life of autonomy and of making decisions for yourself.
Graduates futures’ are a mixed bag, though. Some people who didn’t thrive in high school will go on to find their happy place in a college setting and beyond. Some will immediately start families and get a job. Others will go to trade school. Others who had a good high school experience will struggle after because of bad decisions. Some who didn’t have a good school experience will continue to have a hard life.
As long as there’s been graduations adults have imparted advice they wish they would have taken themselves, or suggested strategies they used that worked. “Never give up,” “You are the future,” “Reach for the sky,” are standard grad-advice fare. It’s not that they’re not not good things to tell students, but they’re kind on par with “Live, Laugh, Love,” watered down, overused, neither very effective or memorable.
We tried to remember graduation advice we received and came up pretty blank. The only advice our reporter recalled was from her great-grandfather, a professor and colonel in the Air Force.
“Don’t be relegated to the annals of mediocrity.”
Very intense, just like you’d imagine from a colonel, but she remembered it.
We also remember when Oprah interviewed Jim Carrey. He wasn’t specifically giving graduation advice but we like it. He told her before he was famous he wrote a check for $10 million and put it in his wallet because he wanted to make $10 million one day — but just dreaming it didn’t mean it would happen. He had to work for it.
“You can’t visualize and go eat a sandwich,” he said.
We recently saw a meme that addressed how we can pick our “hard.” We remembered that, too.
Being broke and in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Choose your hard.
Taking risks are hard. Living with regret is hard. Choose your hard.
Being overweight is hard. Working out is hard. Choose your hard.
Here are a few memorable pieces of advice from notable people:
• “You don’t have to be fearless, just don’t let the fear stop you”- Charlie Day
• “Learn to accept failure. Know that things will go wrong. Then, when things go right, you’ll probably feel like a fraud. It’s normal.” – Neil Gaiman
• “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.” – Steve Jobs
And here’s some advice from us:
•Surround yourself with people you admire and whom you think are better and smarter than you. You learn from them.
•Success isn’t all about money, but being broke is not fun. Save money; don’t live in excess of your means; don’t let materialism rule your life.
•When you are unapologetically yourself it shows up in all kids of ways. People are drawn to you. You’re more respected. You make decisions easier. You’re more relaxed and you have more fun.
•Not all adults know what they’re doing or should be emulated. It’s always good to show respect, but it doesn’t mean you have to take their advice.
•Negativity, gossip, and generally being a jerk are not attractive qualities. The “I hate stupid people” mentality does not serve you.
•Get out of your comfort zone. The worst that can happen is you’re told no or it doesn’t go well. “No” isn’t the end of the world.
Here’s wishing you all very bright futures, grads. Big congratulations, from the Progress!