Congratulations on completing the 12 easiest learning years of your life. Enjoy the sounds of exasperating air horns of the grand stand spectators. As you complete the turf walk and 1.9 seconds of fame, a wild weekend of parties, food, family, and merriment unfolds in your honor. This year, there will be no guest speaker who will offer advice while you’re taking selfies, or commemorative tokens which you’ll loose between the second to third apartment move. So let me welcome you to young adulthood on the third rock from the sun and present the cold hard facts of life you might not have ever heard.
You are starting at “zero”. After the parties, you’ll wake up at the bottom of the totem poll. The world owes you nothing. Pursue the dreams that conquer in your head. But you better have a plan. You’ve had 12 years to develop a desire of future vocation. If not, find a temporary job while determining a plan. You have the summer to straighten up.
You don’t have to go to College. Hopefully you have discovered some sort of trade or vocation through Career and Technology Education. If you haven’t, start mowing lawns until you figure it out. (Football and cheerleading got you nowhere, unless you want to work in a warehouse or become a flight attendant)
Live within your means. Do not go into debt. You’ll be propounded with credit card applications and if employed, the urge to go buy a new car. Do not do it. It’s only metal, not precious metal. You’ll develop a pattern that’s only a trap for the rest of your life. If you’re in need of loans for a college education; make sure you know exactly the degree path you’ve chosen and have an idea of the starting salary upon graduation. You will be paying interest once in the workforce.
College professors are full of crap. Anyone with a PhD on a college campus does not live in the real world (unless they’re in an airline terminal waiting to take a flight for a sabbatical in Europe). When they do not have a graduate student conducting the class, the prof will infiltrate you with manifestos and beliefs that have nothing to do with the course. Don’t let them compromise your critical thinking. They’ll try to intimidate you. Go to the Dean and remind the admission department that you’re the customer and have a choice to spend tuition elsewhere. The ol’ professor will have the ego dented; the grad student will resume teaching the course and thus, another sabbatical in Europe. (Ain’t the world fair?)
Make sure you are ready for the military. Those who choose to enlist sometimes do it to get out of a poor environment or economic situation. You need to know what you are exactly in for and have some idea how you want to serve and will it develop a career path in the civilian sector. The military is a noble and often thankless pursuit which can be rewarding. However enlisting just to get a paycheck is not a very good idea.
Those are just a few of the essentials entering adult life. Others include; don’t marry until you’re 30. If you live with your parents, pay them rent. Vote and know who and why you’re casting a ballot. Learn to accept the answer “no”. Get used to saying “no” (especially to the high school friend who wants to sleep on your couch for a few days. They never leave).
Congratulations on completing the 12 easiest learning years of your life. Good luck. You’re going to need it, as the rest of us.