(Let me preface this post by saying that I am far from a perfect example and all advice be it mine or anyone else should be taken with a grain of salt.)
Congrats you made it! Take a deep breath and reflect. It does not matter if you are graduating from High School or College, the journey has not been a short one. When you are handed your diploma rejoice, you’ve accomplished your goal.
Which brings me to my first bit of advice- That piece of paper does not define you. You’re just getting started it doesn’t matter if you are the head of the class or the bottom, your actions from here are what will make you.
People are going to tell you that these are/were the “best years of your life” don’t let that be the case. Sure life for many is a lot easier when you aren’t in the “real world” I mean who is a fan of bills and not doing what you want all the time but that doesn’t mean you should settle. Make every day great, only you can do this for yourself. Others will help but in the end it’s up to you.
You’re going to get your heart broken. This may have happened to you by now it may never happen but it’s probably going to and that’s ok. It is a much bigger deal to you at the time than it is in the grand scheme of things. Move along and if it is meant to be it will be, the best way to kill a relationship is to smother it. Plants need air and light to grow and so do relationships. There is a reason it hurts and that is because there were good parts, never forget the good it will be there again in some form with the one you’re meant to be with.
Good things happen to good people. Hold the door for folks. Say thank you. Smile. Be genuine. There is a reason the Golden Rule is the first thing that you are taught in Bible school, it’s the most important and fundamental part of living a good life.
People that you look up to will disappoint you. People are flawed and there are going to be times that people that you hold in high regard will let you down. Remember the good things that you look up to them for and emulate them. Learn from the way that they disappointed you and do not make the same mistakes.
Shut Up. I’m sure you have a lot to contribute, if you’re doing it right you are around smart people- learn from them. Keep your pie hole shut and listen. You’ll learn when it is your time to contribute.
You’re very smart. You are only going to get smarter. The best way to alienate people and not succeed is trying to show people how smart you are.
Be humble. There is no need to brag. Your work will speak for itself. Telling people how hard you are working will only induce eye rolls. The Facebook “on this day” feature has shown me how off I was on this subject, no one cares how many hours you are working because they are busting their butt too.
Show up. You will not be included if you don’t show up. Also be on time. If you have a meeting and you make someone wait there is no excuse that will get you back in their good graces for that meeting. The only thing worse than being late is not showing up.
You don’t need to drink all the alcohol. My dad told me many times that you don’t have to drink all the whiskey they will bottle more tomorrow. At the time I’m pretty sure I thought I was simply helping create demand. Try not to be excessive, it sure seems fun at the time but you have a long life ahead and cutting it short for a good time isn’t worth it.
Find something you love, if you can’t monetize it find a way to do it. You might be working at a job that isn’t your “dream job” and that’s ok most people aren’t. Don’t forget your dream, chase it, just don’t hurt yourself or others to get there.
Evolve. Think of yourself as constantly changing and evolving. Just because you feel one way about something doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. Learn and grow every single day.
Have fun. You only get to live once try to do things right and have a blast doing it.
I’m far from a wise old man but I would like to think that if I had read this post when I was 18 I could have avoided some mistakes. Ahh who am I kidding 18-25 year olds don’t listen to advice, in fact I’m sure that if I had read this in that age range I would have laughed it all off. Hopefully some of y’all are smarter than myself. I hope I can look back at this in the years to come and laugh and say I didn’t have a clue because that will mean I’ve gotten better. I put Vol. 1 in the title for this very reason, I hope the advice I will give in the future will evolve as I do.