I attended my school's graduation ceremony today. It was very fancy. I got to wear my snobbery-laden Westminster gown and hood. There were minimal beach balls in the audience, and the students gave nice albeit cliche ridden speeches about achieving your dreams, and never giving up, the future is ours, we can do anything we set our minds to!
Still, graduation ceremonies are boring, so I composed my own graduation speech in my head. For those of you who don't have a bunch of teenagers in your life, welcome to Mormon Child Bride's Alternate Commencement Speech!
Congratulations! You graduated High School! You are now qualified to waitress, clean teeth, aide for a real teacher,and pick up poop in hospitals!
Not for you? Then this graduation isn't an ending for you, but a beginning. After all, you can do anything you set your mind to, right?
Wrong. You can't. There will always be someone smarter than you, prettier than you, wealthier than you, and luckier than you. They will probably get your dream job. So what I would suggest to you, my recent graduates, is to take the following words of advice, which I am qualified to give you as a 23 year old recent college graduate with alarming bouts of unemployment.
1. Everyone will tell you to find what you love to do, and figure out a way to make money doing it. This is decent advice, and this is why I'm an underpaid public school teacher. Be aware though, even what you love will be boring/hard/frustrating some days. Don't give up.
2. You can do anything you set your mind to... for one year. You can work any job, live in any dive, and get through any year of school. You really can. Don't give up.
3. Seriously, don't give up. Unless you hate it. After a year, if the job/major/relationship/apartment makes you want to slit your wrists, quit. There is no honor or glory in being miserable. Quitting is for people well-adjusted enough to know when to abandon the course and try again. I know too many of my peers languishing in internships and jobs they despise. If you have to quit your job and move home and regroup, do it. Remember, sometimes quitting is for winners. Life is short. Be happy. (I told you, it wouldn't be a true graduation speech unless it was riddled with cliches.)
4. It also wouldn't be a graduation speech if I didn't use a quote. Here is your quote: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill.
Some of you may be the lucky ones. You really may be the smartest, prettiest, most wonderful teen in the whole world. Maybe you really will be a multi-millionaire in a few years. Wonderful. But you still can't give up. Remember, success is not final. You must constantly find ways to improve, because stagnancy, even for multi-millionaires, is failure. But don't worry, failure isn't fatal.
For those of you less lucky, find the courage to continue. The one cliche that really is true? The world is scary. It's a different world than the one your parents entered as High School graduates. But it's your job to fix it.
Best wishes! Have a wonderful summer!