Congratulations, graduates. I offer some friendly advice for your consideration.
If you were highly successful during your K-12 years, maintain your self-belief level, even though the challenges ahead may be daunting. If your academic performance record is mediocre or worse — turn the page, there’s a new day coming.
You can join the ranks of the “late bloomers,” as I once did. My high school record wasn’t anything to write home about, but I had an epiphany in my sophomore year in college and went on to earn a doctorate degree.
If your path leads to a non-academic career, the same concept of believing in yourself applies. Moving up is a largely a matter of self-belief, hard work, and perseverance. Hopefully you’ll find a career that brings you happiness as well as economic security. If you start work and find it hard to go out the door in the morning, change jobs or do a career change. Becoming a millionaire in misery isn’t good for the body or soul.
Get involved with local, state, and national politics. Become conversant in the issues facing your town, state, and country. Make your voting decisions based on established facts related to such issues as climate change, factors affecting the quality of life, the environment, etc. Your vote counts so make sure you exercise this freedom. Let your voice be heard. Go to local meetings: school board, town meetings, and hearings on proposed laws and policies. Don’t be intimidated or afraid to speak up. Run for office.
Finally, strive to maintain a positive, optimistic view of life despite the inevitable rejections, setbacks, and other disappointments. Changes are inevitable and as we grow older, there are bridges we have to cross and hurdles we have to jump, so be prepared and don’t get down in the proverbial dumps when they occur. Bob Dylan’s lyrics in his “Forever Young” song on this topic are worth remembering:
May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift,
And may you stay, forever young.