It's that time of year again, when high school seniors are getting ready to graduate. My youngest sibling is graduating in May and as this is my 100th article for Examiner (180+ to be more precise) I thought it would be fitting to give the seniors some comforting advice.
10. You will get scammed. There are people out there who prey on the inexperieed. I have lost $3000 in my life so far because I got taken advantage of and was too shy to create a confrontation over it. Whether it's cell phone plans who sucker you into expensive contracts or the electric company who over charges your bill, everyone gets suckered. Don't be afraid to speak up when something seems shady and don't be ashamed to tell your parents about it. Money comes and money goes. Just keep living and move on.
9. Cops harass everybody. It's not just you or the color of your skin. They make everyone feel like they could be a criminal. Yes it sucks, and feels like your being taken advantage of. But it's the price we pay for being safe. Don't take it personal, and remember that being peaceful is what Jesus does. I always think the best thing to do is comply and get back to your life. Don't take police harassment as a personal attack against your character.
8. It's tough searching for a significant other. Finding a date in high school is relatively easy compared to the difficulty of finding a quality person in the real world. People in high school are trying to improve their life personally. Whereas popular places in the real world to find someone are bars, nightclubs, your low paying job, dead beat casinos and even online dating sites. All of which are scary places where bad guys can frequent. Find something that you know you like to do and catch your significant other there. College, church and hobby clubs are worth doing because people are working to improve their life. Nobody works to improve their life by frequenting bars.
7. The real world is not hard. I remember adults telling me that the real world will, "chew me up and spit me out". Or that, "you have to compete against everyone when you get out in the real world". Or that, "life is hard because you have bills to pay". Let me be the first to say that going to work and paying your bills is not rocket science, anybody can do it. While high school pushes you out the door aiming for great things, the real world aims for the lowest common denominator. Just keep setting goals and going after more difficult things.
6. Being social makes the world go round, not money. The mantra is get out of high school, get a good job and make a lot of money. It's such a losing mentality, because money means nothing if there's no one to enjoy it. Why buy the chick magnet [car] or the million dollar house, the newest Iphone or some cool toy if no one cares that you have it? Being social is always the key. If it was acceptable to live in boxes, in robes and not have to take showers, then we wouldn't have to spend money. Money would not exist unless it was accepted socially. That's why people say family/friends are so important because its truly a social world.
5. You're in control of your life. I used to think that my parents were responsible for some of my decisions in my life. Yes, there were certain things that I appeared to have no choice about. But I didn't realize until I was alone that I truly was in control of everything that I did in my life. Even my happiness and dis-enthusiasm came from me telling myself I liked or didn't like something. You don't like you're girlfriend/boyfriend anymore? You control what you like, dislike, do, or don't do.
4. Your mentality doesn't change because you're older. You have to realize that an adults mentality is similar to yours regardless of how they look. They are the same immature kid from 18 years old, wondering what to do with their life and still partying in their own way. They still want to be the socially acceptable by keeping up with the Joneses or buying the latest technology. They go through the same struggles mentally. They're just better at hiding their weaknesses and knowing where they feel safe at. Be humble and learn from them because they have already screwed up from things that you haven't experienced yet. Don't make the mistake of thinking that one day you will change. Your mentality today (18) is the same as in the future.
3. Don't be afraid to accomplish while you're young. Yes, when you're 21 you can drink. And yes, you don't look like you're mature or the CEO of a company yet because you don't have grey hair. But you certainly have the energy, flexibility, and the guts to do what people older than you can't do. Don't be the guy who wishes he swung for the fence early on. However, don't be a fool and swing for the fence if you don't know how to hit a grounder. Walk before you run - but do it quickly while you're young.
2. No one is going to push you. Have you ever seen your mom or dad do something harmful and expect them to realize what they're doing and change? Yet they don't change. It's not that they can't change, there is just no one pushing them. This is the toughest part of life. Because it's so hard to overcome something when there is no one pushing you to overcome it. Don't be afraid to discipline yourself to overcome problems. Instead of cutting people out of your life because they said something hard to swallow, work to overcome it by getting involved with people who will help you. Your girlfriend/boyfriend telling you you need to change is not a sign that you need to divorce, but is a push to change your life.
1. Your dream job requires work. Everybody thinks theres a dream job out there. They think that the singer, filmmaker, dancer, writer is a result of talent. The reality is that it requires the same type of work you would put into any job. The drudgery of factory work, the instability of a sales job, the worthless feeling of a retail job, and the hard work/little pay of a fast food joint is the same type of work that it takes for a dream job. Keep that in mind and you can achieve your dream.