Well seniors tonight you graduated. Well, most of you anyway. The moment you’ve been working towards for most of your lives arrived at last. Your thirteen year, K-12 academic journey is officially over! The air in the corridor where we lined up the nearly three hundred of you graduates, for your “Pomp and Circumstance” procession into the auditorium was electric! A mix of nervous energy, excitement, happiness, sadness and fear! It was intense. Most of you looked relieved, while others looked stunned that your glory days of high school are over. Several of you have grown quite accustomed to being the big fish in a small pond, but with high school behind you, you’ll have to start all over again, little fish in a gigantic ocean, an ocean full of sharks and other deadly predators. Welcome to the real world graduates!
For some of you this is your last academic hurrah as you have no intention of continuing your education and will enter the work force to begin a new journey towards a career and retirement. Others will seek some sort of vocational or technical training at community colleges or private schools and institutes before entering the real world. Some of you will join the military and aid in protecting and preserving our liberty. God bless you.
Unfortunately, it pains me to say, there are a few of you who will do absolutely nothing. That’s right, you’ll simply choose to veg out and be a drain on your parents, then society, life’s couch potatoes. Sad, but true. With a little luck you’ll wake up eventually and do something about it. I truly hope so.
The rest of you will go on to the next level in the game of academia, college where you’ll face an assortment of academic hoops to jump through on your way to a degree. Whatever road lies ahead for you, whatever you decide to pursue, treasure this moment. You are graduates! Something only seven of every ten seniors in California cans say! be proud! You done good!
After you’ve had some time to savor the moment, when your done with all the parties and celebration, you should take some time to reflect on your journey, thank those who made your success possible, parents, relatives, teachers, counselors, administrators, aides, coaches, clerks, anyone who helped or gave you encouragement. They deserve your thanks. They thought enough of you to give of their time to support you. They cared, care back.
Next, you should begin setting some life goals for yourself. Goals help you stay focused and moving forward. But don’t get locked into your goals, they are not chains that bind you. Be flexible, be prepared to change directions every now and again. And don’t be discouraged if you are having difficulty reaching your goals. Don’t ever think of yourself as a failure. Failure is a part of success. With every failure comes a gift, the gift of growth, every failure teaches us a lesson. Learn from your mistakes and move on. That is what truly successful people do. And please don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. It is the wise man who can swallow his pride, admit that he needs assistance and asks for it.
In the days ahead you will be getting a lot of advice about your future. Everyone will give you their pearls of wisdom to help you choose a course for the future. Listen patiently, but take everything with a grain of salt. No two life paths are exactly alike, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all. Remember to always be true to yourself first. If you can remain true to what you believe and never compromise your principles you’ll accomplish much in this life.
Entering the world of adulthood is an exciting step in your lives, but take heed learn to take baby steps because adulthood can also be quite overwhelming. The better prepared you are the easier it will be. And for God’s sake and your own as well, find a career that you enjoy. If you love what your doing it doesn’t really feel like work! The greatest richness one can ever attain is true happiness. You won’t find it in high salaries, and material possessions alone, you can’t buy happiness. No graduates, true happiness can only be found within. So do some serious soul searching, find that inner peace that makes it all worthwhile, then go out and conquer the world! Godspeed…
“I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” author unknown