2011 / 2012 / 2013 /
Column for 6.27.12
Not even one high school senior asked for my advice this graduation season. Now that I think about it, no one asked last year, either. But had they asked, this is the advice I would have offered:
* Have a plan. It’s alright to change the plan but don’t start life without one. And write the plan down and put it in a place where you’ll see it often.
* High school isn’t the real world. The real world isn’t always fair. Sometimes the real world is cruel. Be tough. Develop thick skin.
* Don’t forget who brought you to the dance. Loyalty is important. Have a good memory when it comes to things people have done for you and to you.
* You can be miserable or you can be happy. Both take effort. Decide to be happy. It makes life so much better, both for you and the people around you.
* Irish in the old country would say, “You can’t plow a field by turning it over in your mind.” In other words, thinking is important but at some point you actually have to do the work.
* Stay in contact with your high school teachers.
* Video games are a waste of time.
* Looking for a job is an awful thing to go through. Most everybody has to go through it. Networking is important.
* Laugh often, especially at yourself. You’ll have many opportunities.
* Don’t live on credit cards. If you have to use credit cards, pay them off fast as possible. Stay on good terms with your bank.
* Nothing good ever happens at two o’clock in the morning.
* Be aware of what’s going on in the world, especially in your corner of it.
* Don’t go where you shouldn’t go. Don’t do what you shouldn’t do. Don’t hang around with people you wouldn’t want to introduce to your family.
* Saying “no” can be difficult. But sometimes saying “no” to someone is saying “yes” to yourself.
* Nike had great slogan and it applies to many things. “Just Do It.” Procrastination can doom you.
* Learn how to write. Get comfortable talking in front of groups. People who can communicate achieve more than people who can’t.
* Trust but verify.
* Being smart is important but being enthusiastic is vital. And when the boss asks you to do something, never say “That’s not my job.”
* Keep your checkbook balanced. Have a savings account and without fail make regular deposits, no matter how modest.
* There is always another side to a story. Always.
* Make your bed every morning.
* Be on time, even if you have to set your watch a few minutes fast. And return phone calls, if possible on the day you get them.
* Don’t smoke. Anything.
* To stand out, work just a little bit harder than the people around you. And don’t call in sick unless you really are.
* Volunteer for at least one good cause.
* When talking with someone don’t be texting someone else. The person you are with won’t be happy.
* Whenever anybody offers you unsolicited advice for free, it might be valuable. Then again it might be worth exactly what you paid for it, which is nothing.
That’s the advice I wasn’t asked to give to the area’s high school graduates.
One final note: just because I don’t always take my own advice doesn’t mean high school seniors shouldn’t.