Graduation: Looking Forward, Looking Back
The following content has been sponsored by AT&T in partnership with AT&T Aspire and the #GradAdvice campaign. All opinions and experiences shared are my own.
Of all the events in our lives, graduation is one of a very few that we use as markers in our allotted mortal time. Usually, it marks a time of transition from being a student to joining the world of working adults. A time when there’s a sudden realization that life just got a little more serious than it was before.
Whether it’s high school or college graduation, we’ve spent several years in a somewhat sheltered environment. We were well acquainted with the rules and the way things worked, and the structure of our lives was familiar and comfortable. With graduation, it was time to deal with changes in all of that.
I remember the summer after high school graduation. Sitting at the kitchen table in a friend’s family home, there was a moment when it all sank in. Yes, things were definitely different. My friend’s mom was there, too. She’d come to be a trusted cohort to all of our mischievous misadventures during the years in high school. So her words held a higher value than that of perhaps most other adults. Observing our semi-shocked and new awareness of our new life status, she said, “Don’t take it all too seriously. You’ll have a lot better life if you hang on to all that it means to be young and free.” Looking back, I can see how insightful she was.
Now that I’m down the road of life a bit, I can add my own perspectives to her wisdom. So as you toss that graduation cap into the air, let it come down and plant these seeds gently in your hearts and minds.
Don’t Be In A Hurry. Ever.
Whether it’s getting the first, or the next, job or considering the next relationship or pursuing your passions, savor each and every moment. Look at each moment with a childlike awe and curiosity. Your life years will pass quickly enough, so don’t rush it. And don’t worry that you might miss some amazing opportunity. You’ll have an abundance of new ones from which to choose.
Play. And Play Some More.
When the years of school end, it’s all too easy to leave behind our carefree selves. It’s easy to adopt that serious adult persona that always puts business and work ahead of self, family, and enjoying life. Here’s a clue: The older you get, the more you’ll realize that it isn’t the business and work memories that put a smile on your face. It’s the memories of the special experiences you shared with people you love and share life with.
Listen to Your Muse. Follow Your Passions.
Far too many people betray and abandon their passions because they don’t have an immediate payoff. Don’t do that. If there’s an inner voice calling you to something that resonates in ways a nine to five could never do, listen to it. While we all have to pay the bills, there’s always time to grow and nurture that part of you that is your special gift.
Treasure People Over Things
Sure, we all want the nice home and the fancy car. Lots of new clothes? I’m guilty. Trouble is, all the new things you get will soon become old. But as they become old, the friendships and ties to the people in your life don’t age, they mature as fine wine. Want to know an amazing secret? In your memories, neither you nor the people you care about grow older. I know, you think I’m crazy. Just wait, you’ll see. And soon enough you’ll be saying, at your 10 year reunion, “I don’t feel any older, how could this be?!”
If I Could Whisper In My Own Graduating Ear
Somehow, I’d like to be able to reach back to that moment at my friend’s kitchen table. And to whisper, “Listen to her!” as my friend’s mom counseled us that summer day long ago. I’d have done a few things differently. Since I cannot do that, I’ll have to settle for encouraging those graduating now to reflect on what this moment means to you.
There will be lots of bits and pieces of advice floating around you during the times around your graduation. You’ll miss a few, and maybe that’s ok. Some, you’ll notice and they will resonate. Take note of them. Remember them. And in this connected world where social media is a part of our daily lives, share them. Use the hashtag #GradAdvice, because you’ll be part of a campaign to spread these bits of wisdom far and wide. Who knows who might find a jewel of wisdom that makes a forever difference in their life?
I’m celebrating graduation season with AT&T Aspire – an initiative that leverages technology, relationships, and social innovation to help students make their biggest dreams their reality.
Silhoutette: Daiana Lorenz
Child and Puppy Giorgio Montersino
Friendship Naveen Kadam