Then Saturday came! Reality set in. I had spent the last 12 years of my life with the same people in the same city and the same school, but that was to be no more. All the friends I had may no longer be that close. Everything had changed, and I had no idea how to adapt. In August 1998, I was going to attend Bible college out of state, take a ministry position, and be in a place where I knew no one. And that was only the beginning of a life that is still constantly changing.
Many graduates don’t leave their hometown. They may go to school or get a job in a field which they enjoy and stay planted. Some are naturally adventurous and want to see the world. Whatever the case may be, I would like to offer a few thoughts. (This can be good for parents of graduates too.)
- Don’t limit yourself! Be open to anywhere and anything when it comes to career and options. Learn several skills. Be versatile so if one thing falls through, you will have a backup plan.
- Get a degree in something for which there is a demand. If you’re called to ministry, let that be your minor. Major in something that gives you options. And I would definitely recommend a graduate or post-graduate degree, but don’t depend on student loans. Bust your rear end to pay for school before you become a slave to student loan companies.
- Work hard so that you have something to show for academically. Average work gets average results. You’re technically already building a résumé, so make it look good.
- Connect with the right people. Surround yourself now with successful people. Don’t be a brownnoser, but develop a good relationship with professors and people that have developed a good reputation in your area of interest. Those relationships will pay off. Be real though! Don’t be fake because they will see right through you!
- Disconnect from the wrong people! I’m not saying be a snob. I am saying that some people will only pull you down. Unplug! You don’t have time for drama. Love people and be compassionate, but understand that some people are toxic and will only drain your life and potential. They will only stand in your way to being the person God wants you to be.
To the parents,
- Let them go! I know this will kill me when I have to face this. But don’t be the one who hinders them from reaching their potential by guilt-tripping them into staying home or by encouraging them to live out YOUR dream. It’s time to watch them take what you instilled into them and watch them shine.
- Don’t enable them! If they screw up, don’t go pulling out your checkbook. People have to learn the hard way. My parents have been wonderful, but they were not financially able to fund my college. I had to fall flat on my face on several occasions, and I am thankful I did not have everything handed to me.
Graduation is an exciting time. Some students look at it as freedom. It’s only the beginning of a higher level of responsibility and many other things. However, the potential of our graduates is high. Combine potential with determination and initiative, and the sky is the limit. Please join me in praying for the class of 2017 – a group of people who have the potential to be positive world changers.