I don’t remember my guest speaker at graduation. She had a big position in some big company and I didn’t exactly care for what she said despite trying really hard to. College graduation should be a perfect day, but her speech was forgettable.
Too often guest speakers try to make us feel amazing while we’re sitting outside sweating our butts off in the early summer sun. It’s like the speech is a birthday cake or something. It feels awesome while you’re experiencing it, but afterward you crash from the sugar high. Graduates find out pretty abruptly that life isn’t easy.
I wish the speaker would’ve disposed with the sugar and frosting and gave it to us straight. Here’s a few things I wish they would’ve told us.
1. Your Degree Isn’t As Important As They Make It Out To Be
I could only imagine how the faculty would react to that. A band of graduates with pitchforks and torches would storm the stage. All-out hysteria would ensue.
But it’s true.
Your degree is a such a small part of what will determine your success. Things like hard work, perseverance, and boldness hold much more weight in my opinion. I still think someone without a degree who works hard and has the guts to follow their dreams has much more of a chance at success than a lazy college graduate.
2. Take How Tough You Think The Future Will Be And Multiply It By 20
Do you know how hard it is to get a job? Getting a job in and of itself takes months. You have to polish your resume, apply, get past the screening interview, dress up, get past the first interview, get past the second interview, and then have a final interview in a room of four people firing questions at you like you’re getting interrogated.
Oh, and you have to compete with somebody who has a Master’s Degree, too.
When simply getting a job is this difficult, try adding on car problems, keeping up with an apartment, staying in touch with friends, and family issues on top of it. Just to start. I didn’t even mention anything about a significant other.
3. For All Of You That Slacked, Prepare For A Rude Awakening
I was always so annoyed with lazy people at school. It’s true. It’s probably because I hated doing group projects with them or something.
Graduation is the dawn of a new era in graduates' lives. For some that’s a good thing. For others, not so much.
4. Do Not Fit Perfectly Into The Puzzle Piece The World Made For You
I am not a job description. As someone who hates doing things someone else’s way, I wish I could’ve heard that it’s okay to do your own thing.
Here I am on LinkedIn saying that!
College is so regimented, anyway. You must go through this path with this many credits to graduate. The truth is that life is nothing like this. There are endless ways to get where you want to go. And sometimes the best way to go about reaching your destination is to not go gently into that good night and be a little stubborn.
5. What I’m Saying Will Not Apply To Everyone
Authority is so overrated. Just because someone has a job title that sounds nice and confusing at the same time doesn’t mean what they’re saying is immediately valuable.
With an audience as diverse as an entire graduating class, it’s not going to work.
We shouldn’t always take blindly to what we’re told, anyway–even if somebody “important” is saying it. That would’ve been a nice lesson to learn on my last day as a student.
6. Donald Trump Will Be Your President In Three Years
Had to fit this one in. Could you imagine the laughs from the crowd this one would get?
7. The Greatest Years Of Your Life Will Never Come If You Don’t Work For It
We have so much to look forward to after graduating. There’s marriage, kids, finding a job, and another 50-60 years of life waiting for us. But I think many times our expectations are a little inflated.
We ALL have big dreams when we walk across the stage. We’re so stupid and naive that any speedbump on the road to our almost-guaranteed life of money, laughter, and prosperity rocks us to our core.
Not everyone will accomplish the life they’re dreaming lucidly about on their graduation day. I still haven’t. Maybe I never will! But to hear that it’s not guaranteed to anyone without work would’ve been another useful lesson to hear.
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