Warning - Warning 2016 Graduates

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Beware unsolicited advice


In the coming weeks many college and high school students with go through the unique experience of graduation. Along with the caps and gowns, "Pomp and Circumstance" and promises between friends to keep in touch, graduates will inevitably be inundated with unsolicited words of wisdom and well-meaning advice. These often start with phrases such as, "If I'd only known at your age what I know now," or "You know, youth is really wasted on the young".

We older folks just can't resist trying to give youngsters the benefit of our experience, especially on momentous occasions in their lives. The immediate response from the young people on the receiving end is usually to be driven up the nearest wall. But how many of us, whose own graduations are several years past, wish we had taken to heart more of that sort of advice when it was offered to us?

Get to work 15 minutes early and stay 15 minutes late and you'll be the one the boss promotes.

Pay yourself first - save something from every paycheck.

Don't be afraid to relocate for a job.

Spend no more than 25% of your income on housing.

Stay out of debt.

Give something back - volunteer somewhere.

"If only someone had told me . . ." is a refrain I've heard more than once from someone my own age in reference to choices they made in their youth. I have even heard myself saying, "I wonder why no one ever bothered to tell me this years ago." The truth is, someone probably tried.

Graduation is a threshold we pass through on the way to maturity, which is an undefined point out there somewhere in our futures. It is a point some of us never reach. A mark of being well on your way toward it is a willingness to learn from other people's experiences and not insisting on making all the same mistakes on your own.

Don't worry graduates. Even if you learn from all the accumulated experience of everyone who offers you advice in the coming days, and you don't make any of the mistakes all the previous generations have made, there will be more than enough opportunities to make up brand new mistakes of your very own. The possibilities are endless. It's called Life. Making mistakes is built right in. And just think of all the advice you'll have ready to heap on your kids. Congratulations!

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Comments 9 comments

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

Nice hub, Kathleen, and so timely for me as we just attended college graduations for two of our grandchildren. We just can't help giving advice to the new grads, but we all know that they'll still have to figure out their own lives and make their own mistakes.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

Such a great Hub! I agree completely. Sometimes the advice just doesn't even make sense since I've never had a chance to understand the context yet, and it just floats right over me :)


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks glassvisage! Hope to read some of your hubs too!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Neat post. :) A thoughtful and thought provoking greeting to grads everywhere!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

RTalloni: Thanks for the read! I've been through this process with 3 kids and a daughter in law plus 18 cousins!


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

Wonderful words of wisdom.


Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 3 months ago

Could it be the advice often falls into 2 categories: (1) I've heard this at least 100 times before so telling me again on graduation serves no useful purpose. (2) Do you have some advice applicable to this century?


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You might be right. Not sure I have advice that is applicable to this century!


Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 3 months ago

Yes, when I was going into the military I had a couple of uncles who gave me advice from their time about 18 years earlier. The information was dated.

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