It’s graduation time in the US. Lots of young people ending one phase of life and beginning another. Lots of excitement…lots of nervousness…lots of wondering what lies ahead. There are lots of graduation speeches–full of advice. They’re not always listened to with as much attention perhaps as the speaker would like–it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment…and to wonder if the speaker really knows anything about our own desires, hopes, circumstances.

So I started wondering. My first college graduation was many years ago. I don’t remember who the speakers were or anything about what they said. But I also love science fiction–and so I thought: If I could go back in time to see my younger self at those graduation ceremonies, what message would I give myself? Here’s what I wish I had known then:

  • Don’t settle for “safe.” Listen to your heart and dream big.
  • Take one or two of those dreams that really resonate with you–and make them goals. Don’t just say “Someday I’m going to…”, but decide what it will take to make them come to pass–and set a timeline for each step.
  • Don’t be afraid of failing. Each failure brings knowledge. It doesn’t mean YOU are a failure; it just means that you’ve learned something that doesn’t work for you.
  • Be willing to listen to those you disagree with. That’s part of maturity, and you may also be surprised by what you learn from them.
  • Compromise is not a dirty word. Don’t compromise on your values, but do be willing to give and take in order for everyone to work together.
  • Trust in someone/something bigger than yourself–whatever name you give that Source.
  • Love yourself.
  • Take time to really look around your world, to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. When you see that beauty, you will also appreciate your responsibility to be a wise steward of that creation so that it will be there for your children and grandchildren.
  • Things aren’t important. People are.

So, graduates…whether you’re graduating from high school, college (for the first, second, or third time!), or whether you’re simply graduating from one stage of life into another…good luck! Enjoy life–and God bless.


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