Some Advice for My Son as He Graduates from High School

by Frank Roche on June 7, 2011

in Awards, Education

My son, Steve, graduates from high school today. That’s a picture of him goofing around after a ceremony at the high school last week, where he got four awards. We’re proud of how well he’s done in school. Bigtime GPA. National Honor Society. 2nd Degree Black Belt.

Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.

The thing is, when I graduated from high school it was a big accomplishment for many people. I think that on the order of half of my class in high school didn’t graduate. And those who did got good, entry level jobs. WITH A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA. Fast forward 150 years.

Some Advice for My Son as He Graduates from High School

  • First, congratulations. But not YIPEE! YAHOO! congratulations. Just an acknowledgment that you put in a lot of work to get to this spot. You deserve to be happy about it. But, honestly, we wouldn’t have expected anything less. That’s how it is out there in the world — expectations are high.
  • You can’t go wrong studying business. (Or engineering.) I know people talk a lot about a shrinking world. You might find it surprising to know that we only started playing ping-pong with the Chinese in 1972. Now, they’re an economic superpower. Knowing how international trade works is valuable.
  • Work harder than everyone else. You know who has trouble getting jobs? People who think they can get by on minimal effort. People who think it’s okay to close up at five and go, no matter what needs to get done. When you work harder than everyone else, you get jobs and promotions and the good feeling that goes with being “the guy.”
  • Get things done. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. The people who do best in this world are those who follow through, who figure out how to get things done. As Vince Lombardi said, “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
  • Keep traveling. Your backpack trip around Europe this summer is a great start. Keep going. Remember that feeling of experiencing new things. And look for lessons in all of them.

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