I can’t let graduation month go by without adding my two cents to all the advice that shows up in stadiums, halls, and living rooms around the world this time of year. Passages like graduation come with people who know stuff and think about things, so learn to say thank you and try to mean it.
And for what it’s worth,
1. Stay calm and stay the course. You got whatever education you just got for a reason; don’t forget what it was and act in desperation. Work at something, but make sure you know how whatever you do will translate as a step to the dream. It might be a long step, hence the staying calm part.
2. Celebrate a beginning, not an end. Whatever school that was, it took you to a new place. That’s what the celebration is for, not the end of the work. The work is just starting, and it will be harder, longer, and more complicated. Yay! It’s what you want.
3. Friends matter. Relationships matter. Family matters. All that, yes. But you have to do what you have to do. Don’t decide to stay in a place instead of go to a different one just because you can. Sometimes the best thing is to get experience and bring it back. It’s a big country and some of the less desirable parts of it have work that is jet fuel to a smart person’s career plans.
4. Learn to make something other than grades, like a big fancy dinner, earrings, or a garden. Get away from the computer.
5. Don’t listen to every bit of advice you are given, but thank everyone who thinks enough of you to give you advice. The advice you take has to suit your own narrative, so select your trusted advisors carefully and be sure you inform them, so they are able to help.
6. Try to do the right thing; don’t be stupid. In other words, don’t hand your keys to a drunk person and then get in the car. That was meant figuratively, but it applies to a REAL bad decision also. If you feel as if you are about to do something dumb, go home and think about it for about 24 hours. You can always make a dumb decision later. The point is to hang on to your keys and call the taxi.
7. Confidence is often better than all the other stuff put together. And, you can fake it. And, you probably should, if you think you have to. Be sure you know what confidence looks like, before setting out to fake it.
8. Stop talking before you think it’s time to stop talking.
9. Own an Etiquette book; manners defined or described on Wikipedia are not reliable.
10. Do not decide to teach someone a lesson, unless the someone is you.
You are welcome indeed.