In NE Ohio, many high school graduations already took place, or will this weekend. There are days my own commencement seems like yesterday, and then the calendar reminds me the day I threw my cap so high I never found it again was in 1988.
I thought I’d share the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Whether you’re graduating or not, I hope these tips encourage you.
1. Be Intentional. I remember after college graduation the job market was much like it is now. Jobs were scarce and going to people with more experience. I had to be intentional and not only be persistent in sending resumes, but follow-up with each company. I sent thank you notes to every person I met during an interview (don’t forget the administrative assistant, they are key.) Even after I landed the job, I had to be intentional in communication both with my work and my home life. When I moved from Upstate NY to Ohio there was a Mothers of Preschoolers group that visited every day our first week with meal delivery. When I asked why did they go out of their way for a virtual stranger, the response was, “We promised as a steering team to be intentional.” I’ve adopted the same attitude.
2. Be Forgiving. No matter what path you take, people are going to wound you, even unintentionally. I took so many things personally after graduation. Whether it was adjusting to living with others in college or coming to terms with a job or relationship rejection, my attitude got in the way. Even as a married adult when I had a miscarriage, my own lack of forgiveness held me back for an entire year. The best definition I ever heard was that forgiveness is “letting go of the fact the other person didn’t meet your expectation.” Want a key to moving ahead faster than most? Forgive.
3. Be like Jesus. Sounds easy and even cliche, but I didn’t choose a relationship with Christ until after college, and even then, I was too new and unmentored to know any better. Being Christ-like means you will serve others and throw self-entitled thinking out the window. People will define you as a great listener, team player, fair worker, and a person that stands out for all the right reasons. I interact with a lot of Christians who aren’t sharing their faith as much as living it, and their peers know there is something about them. The world wants you to be about yourself, to cut corners, and receive more than give. Be salt and light.
What advice do you have for graduates?
If you are a graduate, what plans do you have?