My Advice to High School Graduates

May 19, 2020 | by tyller moline

Oftentimes, graduation is filled with mixed emotions. You grieve the ending of one chapter, while simultaneously look forward to the beginning of another. In other words, parting ways with the life you built and the friendships you grew over the past four (plus) years isn’t easy, but you have the anticipation of this whole new chapter. Yet, what this new chapter looks like is where my advice to you comes in.

See, I’ve always been a bit of an indecisive person. Beyond that, I am a people-pleaser. This combination led me down a road that I allowed others to lead me down. However, it wasn’t the path I would have chosen for myself. I stayed here for college and lived at home because it saved money, and I majored in business because I was told it was the practical decision. First off, I never even thought about attending another college because it wasn’t sensible. Furthermore, I wanted to be a teacher but majored in business because I was told it would offer me a stable lifestyle. Plus, the people-pleaser in me felt I had to major in what my parents wanted me to since they were paying for college. Based on my experience, I offer you the following tips:

1.      Take some time to reflect and ask yourself, “What do I want out of life?” I know this is a loaded question, which is why I think we often avoid asking ourselves it, but it is an important one to ask. Don’t be afraid of it, but rather embrace it. (How you answer this question will determine what you put your time and energy into.) And the reality is, it’s okay not to know with absolute certainty at 18 years old.

2.      Get to know yourself. How do you do this? Spend time traveling, trying new things, and meeting new people.

3.      Make mistakes. Yes, as weird as it sounds, I think it is important to make mistakes. I’m not saying rob a bank, but my point is that we learn a lot about ourselves when we fall – because it means we must get back up, make the necessary adjustments, and move forward. 

4.      Be assertive. You’re going to have a lot of people telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Don’t be afraid to say something along the lines of, “I greatly appreciate your input, but this is the decision that I feel is best suited for me to make.” Finding your voice does not equate letting people down or being disrespectful. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take into consideration what others have to say, but you ultimately get to determine its value. It simply means that it is okay to stand firm in what you want, and not let others constantly persuade you.

5.      Discover a stress-reliever. Figure out an activity, whether it be a sport or something else, that helps you relieve stress. Stress has such a dramatic impact on our health and whether you decide to go to college, or begin working right after graduation, I think it’s important to find a way to let the stress go. I personally find meditation and playing badminton helpful, but you will have to find what best suites your needs.

6.      Find what you’re passionate about. This isn’t always an easy task. However, oftentimes getting to know yourself allows you to unveil your passions. Once you discover them, dive into them head-first – making them a priority. Be okay and open to changing directions along the way; expectation doesn’t always match reality, so give yourself permission to make changes that are right for you. 

7.      Follow your dreams. As cheesy as this sounds, don’t be afraid to dream big. Don’t let others tell you it isn’t possible. You can do anything you set your mind to.

All in all, I hope this was helpful and congratulations to the Class of 2020! I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors! 

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