Reality Bites! A Speech to the Graduating Class of 2000
I welcome you all to the first day of the rest of your lives, I would make this brief and to the point as I know you have all waited anxiously for this moment for many years and I have no plans to shield you away from reality for any moment longer.
The great joy of graduating from the university; you feel excited and overjoyed to have made it through those demanding years and then you feel like the whole world out there should be waiting for you…you have very high expectations:
- Leave school – get a good job – love your job – have a fabulous life…
- Leave school with good grades – get a great job – get promoted every year – have job satisfaction…
- Leave school with top grades – get a master’s degree – get a fantastic paying job – get married – have kids…
We usually have it all planned out until reality bites!
For a lucky few, things would work out exactly as planned but for others; things may not necessarily work out like that:
- Good grades do not always mean the best postgraduate school
- Great grades does not always mean a good job
- Great grades does not always mean job satisfaction
- Excelling in school does not always translate to a great post-grad life
So you might be thinking – how do I bridge this gap between my expectations and reality? Here are a few tips:
- Approach your post-grad life with an open mind
- Have all your dreams, goals, and objectives but don’t put yourself in a box – it can lead to disappointments
- Think smart and work smart
- Speak to other people who have been there and gone through it
- Don’t give up – no matter how hard or impossible things seem to get
- If you really want something, go for it – never take no for an answer
- If and when you fall, pick yourself up – never stay down, you learn a lot when you fall
- Life is a learning curve, you never stop learning so don’t get mad at yourself when you don’t know, just learn, and keep moving because the next new thing to learn is probably just around the corner.
Finally real life is not like a trip to the candy store where everything is nice-looking and sweet – in real life, you constantly have to work hard, rise above situations, jump hurdles, break bridges and build bridges, have highs, have lows, have celebrations, disappointments, joy, happiness (real life is a mixed bag)…don’t go into the real world with the mind-set of visiting a candy store.
However, whatever the case maybe, real life experiences would only help to build your character, make you stronger, reveal to you qualities you never knew you possessed, & help you push boundaries.
In the end, you would all achieve an objective, whether it is one you have mapped out already, one you have not even imagined, one that crept up on you or one that you gradually came to realize…In the end, you would have done something.
I wish someone had told me all of these at my graduation ceremony instead of just buying me presents and congratulating me – Welcome to the real world!