Some Tips for the Graduating Class of 2017

Here in Australia, high school graduates are about to be released upon ‘the real world’. Incredibly, all of today’s grads were born after I myself graduated from high school in 1998. So here are some thoughts from my ‘lifetime’ of experience post-high school.

Life isn’t fair. BUT you have the opportunity to make it unfair in your favor. As you deal with more adults, you’ll notice there are those that take responsibility for their lives and those who always have a legitimate sounding reason for why they’re unhappy. When you appreciate that life isn’t fair and that the world doesn’t owe you anything, you can take responsibility for creating whatever you want.

You are who you hang with. That’s cool for now, at school you have limited options. Sad or not, your friends now may not be your friends next year, or in 5 years time – post-school, lives change, and we keep growing, sometimes in different directions. You definitely want to make an effort to maintain a real friendship when you’re not forced to spend 5 days a week with each other, but don’t hold yourself back or act like someone you’re not if today’s friends take a different direction to you in life. Find new friends who are going the same way you are – it’s a lot more fun that way.

Travel, if you want to. There was a great comment I read on Reddit ages ago, about a 19 year old who had saved up $5,000 and asked his granddad whether he should spend that on travel or invest it for his financial future. The granddad said “If you invest that money today instead of spending it, then by the time you’re my age your $5,000 would have turned into $50,000. And let me tell you – I would pay $50,000 in a heartbeat to travel the world as a 19 year old.” Travel may not be your thing (it wasn’t big for me when I was your age), but if it is then give it a crack.

Academically, it’s rare for your high school grades to matter much in only a year or two and your university grades (where applicable) won’t matter for long afterwards either. So absolutely, don’t lie to yourself, do the work you need to get the marks you know you’re capable of. And at the same time, don’t stress about a bad grade or an upcoming exam. I graduated with the highest possible marks, had a pick of any university degree, and 6 months later I was studying with people who had barely passed high school but made their way to college through other means. There are always other means, and opportunities to redefine your life. By your mid-20s at the latest, your future employment will depend on your work ethic and personality, not your high school (or university) results.

Have fun. Life’s short, and no-one gets out alive. Go make of it what you will! Good luck.

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