David Lauderdale

On turning the tassel, and facing reality

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.