Congratulations! You are so close to finishing the race and will soon be a high school graduate. I know you've heard it before, but high school was filled with some of the greatest days of your life. You grew as an individual and created great friendships. However, I would be remiss if I didn't welcome you to the world of college and adulthood with the same line. Whether you're going to a community college, large university, the military, or even entering the workforce, you really are entering the new best years of your life. Life after high school, while it may seem daunting, is filled with much reward, celebration, and excitement. As you enter this new and exciting world, allow me to share some words of wisdom with you because I too am graduating this year. My college days are over, and while I am incredibly thankful for this journey, I cannot wait for the next step in my young-adult life. So, in a world full of negativity that tends to welcome you to your next phase of life with a dismal "good luck," I excitingly and positively share with you a few pieces of advice from one grad to another.
Brush Your Teeth
Really. This is my first piece of advice. You're entering a world of decision making. Some of those decisions may involve things like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Those are three things that hurt your teeth and can lead to *expensive* problems down the road. Also, when you brush your teeth, your breath smells better... And when you're crammed into a large lecture hall with 500 other students, they will thank you for practicing good hygiene. I don't care if you're running late for class. Brush your teeth, brush your hair, take a shower, and put on deodorant.
Wake Up and Show Up
College students, you have the luxury of choosing classes that best fit your schedule. If you don't want to have class until noon, you don't have to! However, when that occasional 8:00 am class sneaks in there, choose to wake up and go to class. Someday, you might ask that professor to write a letter of recommendation for you. Or later on in the semester when things aren't so easy, showing that you are invested in the class and are trying your hardest may be the difference between a C and a B. For those students going straight into the workforce, showing up to your job is what is expected of you. In order to make money and join society, you must earn it. Showing up is the first step in growing as a successful adult.
Don't Forget About Your Dreams
I recently found a video of young, high school senior, me who was being interviewed on my future plans. I shared my dream job and how I believed my university assist me in making that dream job a reality. Well, here we are, four years later, and in around one month, I will be starting that dream job. In college, it is so easy to get wrapped up in things like grades, homework, and trying hard not to fail a Chemistry test. And while those things are important, I implore you to look beyond the scholastic world from time to time. Yes, I worked hard on my school work, but the experiences that allowed me to obtain my dream job were found outside the classroom. I joined clubs, attended conferences, landed internships, and worked on expanding my network. I went beyond the college student call of duty and was involved. Find the things you're passionate about and find the people who can encourage you and help you turn dreams into realities. Life is full of opportunities, you just need to grab them when you have the chance.
Congratulations again on your achievement! As you prepare to enter the world as adults, remember to call your parents every once in a while, drink plenty of water, and thank the people in your life who have given up a lot to get you to where you are today. But also know that those same people are cheering for you along every step of your new journey.
Throw that cap up into the air, graduate, you've made it.