|2/8/2014 4:01:00 PM|
It's a wonder schools aren't lined up - isn't it?
Around this time each year I sit by the phone. Although some might say I'm not all that patient a man, I try my best. It just makes sense to me, myself and . . . well, OK, probably no one else. But I'm ready to serve my community by offering guidance, advice and the wisdom that comes with writing a newspaper column . . . careful! . . . to those young people who are graduating.
Yet year after year goes by and still no school has called. Oh, there was one, but after a few minutes of discussing the invitation we all decided that pre-school grads might be a little advanced for my message.
So, in what is becoming an annual ritual (or an exercise in futility), here're my thoughts for this year's graduates.
First off, texting may be the new talking, but give it a rest. Ditto on the tweeting, the Facebooking and blogging (who would've thought that e-mails would be considered archaic?). We're becoming a world of instant reaction. That's not all good. Sometimes holding onto that thought until it has time to mature is the better part of valor.
Tattoos? Covered it last year. Haven't changed. Don't.
Something else I talked about last year was setting goals. I know, I know, redundant. But, since this is my column and since you have the luxury of reading (or not) these ramblings in any setting you want (as opposed to sitting on a hard bleacher in a gymnasium impersonating a sauna) then suck it up Bucky and read on. Have goals. Write them down and put them somewhere you'll see often - maybe your smartphone? Then, do something to make those goals mean something. Where do you want to be in five years, 10, 40? Trust me, if you have goals and actually work at them, you're chances are greatly improved of making it there. If you don't, well that's OK. Prior to what you hear about jobs, I believe there are a bunch of minimum wage openings out there for 20- and 30-somethings.
Next, try to remember that even though you are invincible and know so much more than parents or teachers have given you credit for, you're about to leave the security and comfort you've grown so accustomed to for all these years. Actually, this is a good thing. Those apron strings don't stretch all that far and the world is waiting for the next generation. So flap those wings and while you're at it, think about trying on a little humility on for size. I could be wrong here, but not everyone you run into will be as understanding or forgiving as mom and dad have been. New bosses may not be as patient as old teachers. And some places won't have a sense of humor when you make those teeny-little mistakes (like overdrawing your checking account). You know what though? It'll be OK if you're not a jerk about it. So make your mistakes, be humble and learn from them. We all went through it.
Speaking of learning from your elders, I heard Gov. Mitch Daniels speak recently. He said something about public office that makes a lot of sense for life as well. The good governor said those who want to hold office should only run if they intend to do something great. Sound advice. If you're after status quo, stay home. The world needs great right now and your generation may just well be the ones to do it. Give it a try.
I said this also last year, and I'm going to say it again. Read a newspaper. Why? Because those who do are more well informed about what's going on than those who don't. Our world is quickly turning into sound-bite heaven. Forget the facts. Today's e-media is about what you can get in four-second sound bites. Truth to tell, newspapers have people who are trained to get you the facts, not just the tidbits. Newspapers have real news on news pages, real sports on sports pages and all the opinion you could want (or not) on these pages. Besides, those who are reading a newspaper look incredibly smart and sexy in coffee shops and set themselves apart from everyone else with a laptop or tablet.
And let me wrap this up with three things from last year. Hey, if it wasn't good advice then I wouldn't be repeating it now.
First, don't be a victim. Seriously. People are going to screw with you. You can let it pull you down, or you can stay above the fray. If they get the best of you today, learn from it and move on. Don't fill up on poison. Remember this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
Second, Steven Hawking may be the smartest guy in the room, but when it comes to questions of faith and religion, his opinion isn't any better or worse than yours and mine. Hawking may say that the afterlife is a fantasy, but he's wrong. Like it or not, there is a power up there bigger than all of us. Just my advice, but don't tick Him off.
And finally, love what you do. Whether you're going back to school or heading to work, now's a good time to think about doing something you're passionate about. There is much truth to the adage, get a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life. If that can't happen in the short run, keep it in mind for the long.
Welcome to the real world, graduates. You can't screw it up any worse than we have so have a go at it and do your best. At the end of the day, it's all any of us can.
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