Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Graduation Speech

I've had the opportunity to speak at many events and as I sat down to write this long paragraph about how I've never had the chance to speak at a graduation I realized I did get to speak at my college graduation. Oh well. Let me lament for a moment. I've not been asked to give one of those 20 minute long, yawn causing, let me keep blabbing while you're bet turns sore on a high school bleacher kind of speech. I think every single one of us have a few helpful hints we wish we could stand up and tell high schoolers. So I'm going to list below some things I wish I'd known (I was probably told but that doesn't mean I listened) when I was getting ready to graduate. I invite you to write a list of your own and when you do - please send it my way. Every day I am reminded how much I still have to learn.

Grow up. Yup. Pretty scary to hear right? I love a quote from my ag teacher, he always said "Look sharp, act sharp and be sharp." The way we look and the way we act is the way we are. I'd rather ruffle your feathers a bit by telling you to grow up versus having another adult waddling down the street in sweats and eating Little Ceasar's pizza in their mom's basement. Adulthood is a beautiful thing and that lie about no jobs being available - it really is a lie. As long as you are willing to work people will be willing to hire you.

Never judge a book by its cover (even the adults waddling down the street in their sweats). I love that song on the alternative stations "give me your eyes." There are numerous beautiful hearts out there waiting for someone to give them the chance to be unveiled.

Be true to your school. No, I don't mean that you need to continue to wear your homecoming garb on a regular week day. I mean, keep in touch with your teachers and administrators. There has to be at least one you liked right? It's pretty rare that those folks are told how appreciated they are, be the exception.

Always have 3 mentors that you go to when you need advised. Mine are 3 different gentlemen. One I've known my entire life (my dad), one just since high school and the other only since college. Each of them have invested in my life and each live their lives in a way that I'd like to emulate. Oh! My husband is there with me for EVERY decision but he doesn't get to count as a mentor. You need to have 3 outside inputs :). If chosen correctly, these people will help you through more things than you can probably imagine right now.

Run. Maybe you don't run, maybe you lift weights. I don't have that kind of toughness so I just run. Maybe you don't want to run 10 miles a day or even a week - that's fine! Choose a distance and then accomplish that. This will allow you to prove to yourself that you can accomplish the goals you set and I'm not sure how it is for you guys, but girls running of any amount makes me feel like a super model (at least until I get back to the couch!) I think it will do great things for your self esteem too!

Appreciate criticism. Golly, I know it's hard to do and sometimes people are just a few fries short of a happy meal and jealous of what you have to offer. Remember though that your greatest moments of growth may come from someone saying something you really didn't want to hear. Take what people say, weigh it, use the things that apply and are useful and throw away the rest (make sure to forget about the "rest" in fact).

Call home. Whether you are at college, into a new career or even living two blocks down from your family - call them. It is far too easy to begin your own life and only call home when you need something. The people who have invested the most in your life deserve more than that. You had a terrible home life and are glad to be away? Gosh, I wish I knew what to say - wait I do - pray for them. Strange to hear, I know, but it works wonders.

Don't be a facebook sap. We all have rough days. We all have times when we wonder what in the world we are doing and why people are so mean and why life is so frustrating. We also all cook supper every night, clean our houses even when we have headaches and make time for the one's we love. Our professionalism and overall reputation can slide right into the gutter when we decide to take our whining to social media. Just find someone as silly as you and use them as your buffer :).

Know your purpose. Imagine the tragedy it would be to reach the end of your education years and when you opened the list of degree requirements you realize that you were working on TOTALLY different things than what were listed there. Gosh, what would you do? Start over? But you can't! You've passed that stage of your life! Well, this scenario isn't likely. Most of the time a school administrator would step in. In life, this scenario takes place all too often. People live every day running in the proverbial rat race and when they get to the end they realize that the important things to them weren't actually the important things at all. Don't let that happen to you. I know my life purpose is to be an ambassador for Christ. It's not fun every day. It isn't easy and I don't always do a good job. But I have a purpose and that gets me out of bed every single morning.

Well, you didn't ask for a graduation speech but now you have one. Like I said earlier on, these are just some thoughts I'd like graduates to know now I'd love to hear yours!

- Trinity


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