Friday, May 12, 2017

To The Graduates

{Oh yeah, I dug into the catacombs for this one.}

Tonight the Hope High School Class of 2017 will walk across a stage, shake a hand, and peace out.

Some will leave the auditorium in tears, some will leave clueless about their next step, and some will hit those doors and never look back. Still, that school will always be their first chapter, no matter what waits in the next one. When thinking of all these teenagers making their great escape, ready or not, the thought that hits me the hardest is how old I am.

On a May Friday a whopping 15 years ago {that's 5,475 days of my life}, I was there, worrying whether my heels would sink into the grass and which side of the cap indicated my graduate status. The future was far down my priority list in that moment. Since that day, however, I've learned dozens of unexpected life lessons.

Today I want to reach out to the Class of 2017 {or their moms, who are more likely my target audience} with a handful of advice for their debut into the real world. These thoughts can go for those a few years away from graduation, a few years past, or those who just need a brief refresher. To whomever you are and wherever you are: Congratulations. You may have had a fun four years, but the best is waiting. Whether you have a binder detailing your ten-year-plan or you're still debating tomorrow's lunch, you did it. Graduates, it's time to begin...

  • Be happy. Wake up every day knowing it's going to be a good one. Sometimes it'll work, and sometimes it won't, but it sure is nice to start on a good foot.

  • Pray. It isn't something you have to do in a church or with anyone else. Just close your door and talk to God. I can almost guarantee he won't arrive with a Power Point presentation on "What You Should Do" but this relationship is crucial. Get to know Him better.

  • Be brave. Talk to the guy who smiles at you in college algebra. Change your major. Change your career. Go on an adventure. Don't be afraid to live the life you want.

  • Be prepared. Know how to do laundry the right way, and start building up your sack full of quarters.

  • Be kind. Pay for the person behind you in drive-through. Stop to help a stranger in need. Open the door. Check on a friend who's having a hard time. Check on a friend who isn't having a hard time, but you just haven't heard from in a while. It's easy to be nice. And it's free!

  • Call your mom. Seriously. It's probably a good idea to just do it right now.

  • Take naps. Nap as often as you can {you know, within reason}. Trust me on this one.

  • Go to class. Your college professor won't care nearly as much as your high school teachers that you were too tired to make it. This is an easy way to get dropped from a class and lose those precious tuition dollars.

  • Learn about money. Don't spend what you don't have, and save as much as possible. I know these can be lean times but you don't want/need credit card debt to haunt you.

  • Fail. It's visible proof that you tried. Failure leads to growth and shows you where the bar is set. Mistakes are going to hurt, but they're coming. Wear your scars and let them push you to try again.

  • Succeed. Your level of success is not based on the performance of anyone else. Go ahead and read that sentence again, I'll wait. I want every person reading this to succeed in all their goals, especially the ones they don't yet know they want. However, the only person you have to prove yourself to is YOU. If you're a better person than you were yesterday, you made it.

  • Love. Everything you do, do it in love. It is the one that thing that can hold us all together, and the baton has been handed off to you. Bring love back into the world, one word, one action, one step at a time.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017! Do well, and do good.


Dorothy Johnson said...

Wonderful advice. I wish all graduates could read this.

Jessica Bauer said...

Thank you so much, Dorothy!