It is the time of year at colleges around the world where students put on their robes and funny hats and cross the stage to pick up their diplomas. I teach some of those students during their final year at the university and consider myself one of the final guardians before they face “the real world.” This is my letter to those students and thousands like them.
Dear College Graduate,
You did it! You got that piece of paper! While I know that you cared a lot about this piece of paper that you will frame and put on a wall, I hope you realize that it is just a piece of paper. In time I hope you see that your time in college was about so much more. Your professors have been tough because the world is a tough place, and we want you to be prepared to contribute to making it better. Okay, some of those professors are just mean. Most of us mean well. Here are some lessons I hope you have learned:
1. I don’t take attendance because you are an adult who can manage your own schedule. Attendance is important and correlated to success. Your boss is not going to give you points for attendance. He will simply fire you for non-attendance.
2. There is no extra credit in life. Either you do the job and get paid or don’t do the job and go home unemployed. Take responsibility and do it right the first time.
3. It’s ok if you don’t really know what you want to do yet, but you need to do something. You don’t find your way by standing still because the view never changes.
4. Be prepared to work hard. Nobody you encounter had their successes handed to them. You are only entitled to the things you work to attain.
5. Start planning for retirement today. Making the choice to invest now will have massive rewards in the future. Remember time value of money!