You’ve graduated from high school. You politely listened to the valedictorian deliver his/her speech. And finally, your family has likely hosted a celebratory event in your honor. It’s official, you’ve now written the last sentence of this chapter in your life and I suspect you are giddy with excitement about the fact that you can now move on to a life away from your parents.
As you prepare for the next chapter of your life, I wanted to share a few things with you.
First, for most of you, high school is a required stepping stone in the journey of life. You’ve enjoyed it and now you can’t wait to see what’s next.
For the rest of you, high school was (and will remain) the pinnacle of your life. Why do I say that? Because for the past four years you were part of the “in crowd”; you were the “big man/woman” on campus; the captain of whatever team you were on; the guy or gal everyone wanted to be. Moving forward, and I say this with kindness and respect, it will never be like that again.
Regardless of what your high school experience was, I encourage you to consider these nuggets of advice as you move on to whatever is next.
Plan to leave. It might seem obvious but one of the best things you can do for yourself and your future it to leave the place you currently call home. For some it might be going off to college on the opposite side of the country. For others, it might mean taking a gap year. If leaving is not an option just yet, make a plan to do so in the next 6-12 month. Getting away from home and immersing yourself in an entirely different community is the only way to expand your circle.
Be adventurous. Whether you are moving on to college or directly to the workforce, you have a chance to step out of your comfort zone and you should absolutely do it! Be uncomfortable. Expose yourself to experiences that will broaden your perspective. In short, say yes more than you say no.
Be You and Do You. You won’t figure everything out in one day and that’s okay. What matters most is to always be true to who you are. Listen to your heart and follow your passion. Whatever it is you do, do it because that’s what you want to do. Always remember the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is truer than You.
So, when you make that final walk to the stage and receive your high school diploma – take a bow, celebrate the moment, and cherish the memories you made during the past four years. Do all of this with an eye to the future and know that there is a world of possibilities and opportunities that awaits you.
So go forth. Be adventurous and always remember to be you and do you. The 46 year-old version of you will be forever grateful.