On turning the tassel, and facing reality

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comApril 28, 2012 

Editor's Note: This column was originally published June 1, 2007.

Random thoughts for our graduates as they start a new life:

  • Don't use credit cards.

  • Your parents didn't start out with what they have today.

  • Give back to your school. Our community needs stronger roots. That's you.

  • Have a bit of your paycheck sent directly into a rainy-day savings account. That's in addition to the 401(k). As they say, "Pay yourself first."

  • Do what Dave Ramsey (www.daveramsey.com) says: "Act your wage."

  • There is much greater peace and satisfaction in saying, "I'm sorry, I can't afford that right now" than there is in juggling debt.

  • Read "The Millionaire Next Door."

  • Don't be anonymous. Don't say things without attaching your name and reputation to it.

  • Think about your reputation.

  • Act like you've got a mother.

  • The biggest threat in the world is not nuclear bombs. It's selfishness. And that's something you can actually fix if you try hard enough.

  • Being cool isn't always cool. A cool guy I ran with in high school was killed recently in a shoot-out with cops in a suburban discount store. Way cool, huh?

  • Every professor and every boss is weird. Get over it.

  • Don't gossip at work.

  • Take solutions to your boss, not problems.

  • Find your own ways to buck it up when you're down. Maybe it's wearing a nice shirt or dress.

  • Showing and telling everything on Facebook is a bad idea.

  • Old sayings are old sayings for good reason. You DO only get one chance to make a first impression. It IS better to give than receive. And honesty IS the best policy.

  • If somebody cares enough about you to live with you, they should care enough about you to marry you.

  • Why pour too much money into a wedding? Invest it in your first home.

  • Use the high-tech device everyone overlooks: The "off" button.

  • Don't make excuses. No matter what your race, creed, gender or ethnicity, you've been given a chance to succeed like no one before you.

  • A good motto: "It's up to me."

  • Not many people are going to appreciate your brilliance. Don't let it get you down.

  • You're going to need a close relationship with a higher power.

  • Possessions, fame and wealth are easy to come by compared to what will really bring you happiness: Forgiveness.

  • Leave your home, school, church, temple, job and community better than you found it.

  • Mind your own business.

  • Be a contributor.

  • Don't complain.

  • Don't wish your life away.

  • Don't borrow things.

  • When lost, enjoy the scenery.

  • Always tell the truth.

  • Don't be common.

  • Say "please," "thank you," "ma'am," and "sir."

  • And remember that a lot of people helped you get this far. Pay them back by simply making good choices.

  • Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.

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