Open Letter To High School Graduates
Congratulations to you
all. By now, you have walked across the stage, before your classmates,
teachers, administrators and family, shook hands with a figure of authority and
received your high school diploma.
This much is certain – a
major milestone in your life has been achieved and you should be proud of the
accomplishment and enjoy some time celebrating safely and hopefully enjoying
some relaxation along the way.
However, we are not
going to gush over you like so many others this week. You deserve to pat
yourself on the back and have a sense of pride in what you were able to do over
the last four years. There’s nothing that could be said to diminish your
However, it’s worth
remembering you have merely done what has been expected of you at your age.
Graduating high school
essentially serves as the ending to one chapter in the book that is your life
and the beginning of another. It’s a building block. You have been expected to
graduate high school since your parents enrolled you in school years ago. All
things led to this, what happens next is up to you. For most, it means college
of some sort. With that comes pressure to succeed and make your parents proud
and justify the thousands of dollars they or the government are investing in
you. It’s this next chapter that will likely determine who you are as a person.
You have received a lot
of advice over the last few weeks, particularly at your commencements.
Undoubtedly, you have heard several speeches and numerous words of counsel.
Clearly, you listened to some of what was said and maybe even took a few pieces
of encouragement to heart. Along those lines, here are a few more words of
advice and some general thoughts:
— Be flexible: What
gives young people an edge in this world is their adaptability. You are way too
young to possess too many bad habits. Even those of you who have a few behavior
quirks that need to be kicked, it should not be too difficult so long as you
are open to change and maybe some criticism. Many young people complain they
are not taken seriously. Unfortunately, that’s often the case, largely because
you think you know everything. You can buck this trend by proving yourself to
be adept at juggling a variety of things at one time and being open to learning
— Don’t be arrogant:
You do not know enough about the world to be conceited. You will need to make
many mistakes and misjudgments before you are successful. Being supercilious
will only lead you astray and waste time.
— Do be excited: It’s
an exhilarating time for you, and it’s okay to show your true emotions. That’s
actually charming. Excitement shows honesty, which is never a bad trait.
— Don’t feel entitled:
More than likely, life is not going to work out exactly the way you hope. There
will be curve balls that come your way, both professionally and personally.
Exactly how you deal with them will say a lot about your character. You will
need to possess a will to succeed and the devotion to prosper through difficult
times, which are inevitable. Failure is a certainty at some point in your life.
Coping with it and turning it into a positive will show your strength.
What happens next is
your call. This is the beginning of what should be the best years of life. A
lot of memories will be made and you will meet a lot of wonderful, inspiring
people in the years ahead. You will never forget the last chapter of your life.
High school is a special time. Take what you have learned and apply it near or
far, whether it’s college, the service, a job, a volunteer career or a family
that’s your next calling.