David McCoullough’s inspiring 2012 “You Are Not Special” commencement speech is the real deal. In pushing his graduates off the proverbial cliff, he reminded them that life would not hand them anything and that “carpeing the heck out of the diem” should not just be a fancy Greek phrase, but a way of life.
With younger family members crossing the stage from college into the real world in a matter if days, I wanted to take a spin at the in your face approach to confronting reality. This “YOLO” generation tends to hide behind Barney and his friends when they don’t want to face the heat of reality. Well head for the big purple dinosaur for this one!
Financial Aid Expires
Grants and scholarships are free. Student loans are not. Hope you enjoy the next six months of freedom cause it’s about to get real. Student loans is like the sun. It will be back tomorrow. Deferment, forbearance is a nice temporary reprieve but interest still accrues.
Get Some New Friends
By now you should have dropped about 75% percent of your pimple-faced high school friends. And soon you should be dropping the rest. Unless you’re all on the same playing field, going in the same direction, the reality is that you will not have much in common with the friend who still wants to ride his bike around the neighborhood or the one who wants to gossip about old frenemies. Cut them loose.
No More Excuses
Your parents and older family members will have no problem watching you drown in quick sand if they placed the warning signs up and you ignored them anyway. Some may want to throw in a rope when you are waste deep and there will be that masochist who will only send in the calvary when it’s just your index finger still above ground. You have got to remember that you are no longer some kid who has to be bailed out every time. Spending a few days in jail WILL build character. If you don’t know-ask. People aren’t mind readers and yours is way too complicated to try and figure out.
Not Everybody Has To Like You
No one will care about your GPA, how many clubs you were in, what sorority you joined, and that you were captain of your basketball team. Many will think you’re an entitled, lazy, millennial brat who is out to get over without working hard for it. You will spend at LEAST the first five years of your career having to prove otherwise. Don’t take it personal. Find a seasoned mentor who will keep it “100” with you. They will help you bring the best you to the game. You will have won some people over with strong work ethics, a team-player approach, and knowledge base. The rest won’t like you still but they will respect you.
You Are Not The First
I know you hear this a lot and you will continue to hear it. Unless you are developing the serum for world peace, cure for AIDS, or have discovered the Fountain of Youth, get in line with the rest of us. There are plenty of hard working, driven individuals of all ages out here and we have all been down this road a time or two. Once you figure this out, try not to make the same mistakes of those that came before. Keep humility closer than your own skin. Arrogance and pride isn’t a good look. God don’t like ugly and he isn’t too fond of pretty either.
It’s Okay To Be Scared
This world is huge and filled with people who may not mean well. There are ugly things lurking in every corner, waiting to pounce. Everything from depression to death will come at you. No where is it written that you have to pretend that all is okay when it really isn’t. Reach out for the help you need. It’s the human thing to do.
Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
The Bible is chock full of wise proverbs. King Solomon learned things the hard way and we have his words and many others in the Bible to keep us on track. Don’t let your Bible app collect internet cobwebs. From how to make friends to who to choose to marry, this life altering resource just never gets old.
So cross that stage with ya bad self! Make us proud to see that our money, energy, time, (and Lawd help us!) patience wasn’t wasted on you. Time to make your mark you college graduate you!