For the Graduate

Yesterday, I went to a high school graduation. In attendance were many of the people in my church small group, both soon-to-be graduates and well-wishers.

I’ve barely graduated from high school, but it has been a year longer than the graduates of the class of 2003. My thoughts, though woefully incomplete, may be of potential use to the new graduates. So, without further ado, here’s a list of suggestions to follow I’ve learned since I left from high school:

  1. Put God first. At a public commencement ceremony, you’ll (unfortunately) never hear this advice, and this is easily the most important step to a happy future. When you seek God first, He will either (a) give you what you desire or (b) teach you why it’s not best for you.
  2. Put yourself last. Always take care of the needs of friends, family, and yes, even your enemies, before you worry about your own needs. Treat others better than you’d want to be treated, and be selfless in your dealings with them.
  3. Balance your time. The human body works best when supplied with both work and play. Too much work will burn you out; too much play will cause laziness and will not provide enough exercise for the brain. Try to find a healthy balance of work and recreation.
  4. Hold on to friends. People always say they will keep in touch after graduation. Don’t wait for them. Initiate contact. Friends you have interacted with during your high school years will be invaluable as you start college or enter the workforce. Hang on to them. Don’t let these relationships fade, as they can be a valuable asset as you adjust to the changes in your life.
  5. Stick to your morals. If you thought high school was full of conflicting ideas as to right and wrong, wait until you get to college. With so many varied worldviews, ideas about how our world works are certain to be exchanged, analyzed, and internalized. Fight the temptation to leave your morals behind at the same time you leave for college, but don’t be afraid to evaluate new ways of thinking. Be patient and humble, and God will help you to live the life he’s planned for you.
  6. Persevere. At times, you’ll feel that the world is out to get you. Don’t be afraid. When you stumble, get up and keep walking. When your teachers (and later, your supervisors) assign a project, do more than is required of you, and don’t expect a reward. Try to give everybody a reason to like you; avoid giving anybody a reason to hate you.

I wish the best to each and every graduate of the class of 2003. May you be successful and yet humble in all you do. Godspeed.

For more suggestions for the graduates, check out the list of links at b4G.

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