Pom, pom pom pom, pooooom, poooom” (That’s “Pomp and Circumstance”) In Kansas, schools and universities are either preparing for graduation or conducting graduation exercises this month. And the public school kids are now chanting, “School’s out, school’s out, teacher let the fools out!”
So, in keeping with the tradition of the many speeches, passing on knowledge and wisdom, instruction and warning to our graduating Seniors, I will proceed as well.
Here is MY advice to you new graduates.
1. Whatever you do, continue to pursue some kind of education. Learn a trade.
Let’s be realistic. You will have to support yourself at some point. Select a profession or trade that society needs. Don’t take on excessive debt or soak up your parents’ funds pursuing some useless occupation that has already saturated the market.
Consider studying to become a teacher, a mechanic, a beautician, an engineer, a social worker, a scientist, a nurse, or any medical occupation. Consider the service industry. Find a mentor if you want to learn the plumbing business, an entrepreneur, or even become a writer. The “mentor” business is big right now.
Making a lot of money is not the answer to happiness. Choose a profession or trade that YOU like and might enjoy doing.
College and university often become a holding tank and nothing more, (a place to spend 3 or 4 years while you transition to getting more sense). UNLESS you are majoring in a specific field and profession, don’t waste your time and money. If you are only seeking the “experience” of partying ‘til you are pig-faced, searching for a spouse, and/or just anxious to get away from your home town, then COLLEGE is NOT for you.
2. Fred’s expression is this: “If you are going to walk in the chicken yard, you will get manure on your feet.” Choose your friends carefully. Think before you act. Don’t let your friends’ choices pull you down; allow your choices to pull them up. College is the “perfect storm” for doing hairbrained things. Respect yourself and respect others.
3. Say Please, Thank you, Excuse me, and Yes Sir. Good manners make a way for you with professors, counselors, family, and friends. Step up a level higher. Say what you mean and mean what you say. You are an adult now.
4. Remember, you are responsible for you. You can not blame your parents, your friends, or your “lot in life” for who you are and where you are headed. You are the final authority, and you can do whatever you set your mind to do. No one can stop you but YOU. Guard your reputation and self-esteem. Your actions will follow you; good or bad.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go” (Dr. Seuss).
5. Live a good, honorable life. Then, when you are older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time. If you make a mistake and find yourself in a hole, then stop digging! Everyone makes mistakes. The courage comes in correcting them.
6. And last, live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly. Leave the rest to God. These are all tips that if followed, will direct every other decision in your life with success and well being.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Good luck, and may you be successful in all that you pursue.
Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com or juditabler@awomansview.