There they are.
The high school class of 2023 has been turned loose.
They've had proms, award banquets, signed yearbooks, if they still have those. Some have taken a farewell road trip.
They sweated through the graduation ceremony with a speaker who might have told them something they needed to hear; probably not.
Many will say goodbye to lifelong friends and not see them again.
They think this is the biggest event of their lives. I hope not.
Many think their education is over and those are probably right.
A high school diploma is a 'learner's license': The real education is about to begin.
I wondered what I would tell a graduating class if I had the chance.
Here goes! Extend your education. Not everybody needs a college education. Public technical colleges will teach you a skill or craft that will serve you well. People will always need plumbers, nurses and air conditioning technicians. People want to be comfortable.
Having a skill other people need is like a license to print money.
Learn a language. A second language opens doors and improves your quality of life.
Find a hobby that requires you to develop a skill. The time will come when you will need satisfaction at your own pace and might turn into a lucrative avocation.
Things belong to those who want them most. The person who wins is often not the smartest, best educated, or best looking. The winner is usually someone who doesn’t take 'no' for an answer.
Go see a play, attend a concert, change the buttons on your radio. Force variety onto your life.
Take risks. Don't be afraid to try something new. Predictable people are boring.
Shut up and listen. You don't learn anything while you are talking, and people will think you are fascinating if you let them do the talking.
You only get two shots at a first im- continued from page
pression; how you look, and how you sound. People make judgments about you based upon your appearance and speech.
Make cross-generational friendships. Learn from those who have already made the mistakes.
Get a library card and read a book a month.
Take time to volunteer. Community service is dues we owe our fellowman.
Start saving money. It doesn’t matter how much you save, but it is saving regularly that matters. Set aside a portion that belongs to tomorrow. Saving inspires confidence.
Learn something about your personal history. One day you will wonder where you came from.
Get away from your parents. You need to develop into yourself, and you can't do that around people who'll pick up your socks. Write down your mother’s favorite recipes.
You are about to enter a world where there are no excuses. Your educational system tried to pump up your self-esteem, eliminate “winners” and “losers,” tried to help you deal with disappointments and tragedies. You are now your own support system and responsible for your self-esteem.
Your stuff no longer belongs to everybody else, and you've worried about being “popular” for the last time.
The educational system is all about “fairness” and protecting you from being offended. The world is not fair and whining won’t change it. Being offended won’t hurt you.
Racism and prejudice do exist, but they wither in the face of competence and excellence.
You were a kid for a while. You’ll be an adult forever.
I wish you well.