A Letter to Graduates

by - May 28, 2011

It's that time of year when thousands of high school and college seniors walk across a stage, shake someone's hand and turn their tassels. It's that moment when you think, "I did it!"

Congratulations, grads. You've accomplished something pretty spectacular and hopefully developed some good character along the way.

I've graduated twice (high school and college) and am now a successful member of society, so I feel as if I can offer some pretty decent advice to you guys.

Despite the many bits of wisdom I can bestow upon you, I feel like there's one thing I've learned that can benefit you the most in life regardless of if you're preparing to continue your education or transitioning into the real world.

Don't limit yourself.

A simple enough phrase, but so many of us do it without even realizing it, and by limiting ourselves we're really only hurting ourselves.

Let me tell you a true story.
Growing up all I ever wanted to do was work with newspapers and magazines, so I worked on my high school newspaper, majored in print journalism in college and interned at an area magazine. I was good at what I did and never thought I'd have any problems finding a job after graduation, but I was wrong.

I was also wrong about how I applied for jobs. I limited myself to only newspapers and magazines, never dreaming that I could start a career in a different area of the news doing what I wanted - edit other people's work and take a whole bunch of parts to create a whole product.

What I never dreamed of doing is now actually my career.

So here's my advice to you...

Don't limit yourself.

If you've just graduated high school and are getting ready to start college, major in something you would enjoy doing for the rest of your life but don't focus solely on that one thing. Branch out into other areas that are related to it.

If you're looking for a job, open up your search to include anything and everything that could possibly incorporate what you want to do. Don't let words like qualifications scare you away from sending in your resume. You never know when you might be just what that job needs.

A career path doesn't have to be so black and white. The road can curve and detour, but I bet you can't find a single person who mapped out their life plan and actually followed that map to the letter.

It's more fun when you get a little lost along the way.

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  1. One word: plastics. 'Nuff said.
    (movie quote from The Graduate)

    Yours is excellent advice, Ashton. When my mother decided to join the work force she disregarded the list of qualifications and went after the jobs she wanted. She got every job she applied for, three in all, and learned as she went along. My advice to grads is to develop your vocabulary to the greatest extent possible. Never stop adding words to your arsenal because words are power. Words open doors. Learn how to use power (action) words to sell yourself on your resume and in interviews.

  2. It's so funny that you said "action words". That was one of the major things my senior seminar professor preached to us when compiling our resumes. He even gave us a list of them to make it easier.

  3. Yep. I took a special career advancement course that preached the use of action words. They also come in handy when writing news copy, hence Action News.

    Hey, dear friend, please stop over and check my new blog post. I have tagged you, given you another blog award, and profiled you. I know you're slammed and don't have time to deal with the rules of the awards. Don't worry about it. Just accept and appreciate them. I wanted to include you on my list of recipients because you deserve recognition and because I like you! Happy holiday!