As a matter of fact, I never saw the inside of a university until I was asked to do a commencement speech. It begs the question… what then are the speaker’s credentials? I have written eight books; my three sons kid me “Dad, that’s five more than I’ve read.” Touché.
One of the conclusions I’ve reached over the years in preparing for the handful of commencement speeches I’ve given is that college is less about your GPA and more about learning lessons that will serve you for life.
Kids graduating today will have 14 jobs before they’re 38 years of age. My favorite piece of advice to my sons was “Don’t worry about what you’re going to be when you grow up. It hasn’t been invented yet.”
As a matter of fact, four of the top ten in-demand jobs today didn’t even exist ten years ago. As the great Italian philosopher Yogi Berra once said: “The trouble with the future is it ain’t what it used to be!”
While the purpose of college is to get an education, I would hope that, more importantly, the student gains wisdom to help them navigate through life.
Wisdom helps one to discern how to overcome the obstacles in life but more importantly the overrated perceptions that exist. Most of life is overrated.
Grades are overrated. I realize you need a scorekeeping system, and I mean no disrespect to those who aspire to be at the top of their class. Grades are critically important to the sciences. I don’t want some doctor operating on me who flunked most of his or her surgery classes.
However, for the vast majority of students in college, grades are overrated. Most of what you need to learn about life will happen after you leave school, either by choice or by chance.
I always told my sons to study hard but play hard. Don’t worry about what you’re going to be when you grow up; it hasn’t been invented yet!
All three are and were competitive weightlifters. The disciplines they learned in the weight room serve them as well is the microbiology classes or nursing classes they took in college.
I love the Dish ad on television where they’re saying they are going back to college and one party begs…
“Please, take me with you.” College should be fun and fulfilling.
While I never saw the inside of an institution, I worked as a bartender at the Knights of Columbus in my youth and I got to vicariously enjoy the life through the many fraternities at nearby University of South Carolina.
One could argue that I graduated from the fun side of college without ever enrolling in one. The college experience is much more than a GPA.
My good friend Dr. Nido Qubein is President of High Point University and he has revolutionized the college experience with the life lessons side of educating. High Point teaches kids about the real world and how to survive its obstacles as well as the overrated aspects of life.
I am so proud of my brothers and sisters. Most have degrees or multiple degrees, but beside my late mother and me, I’m not sure anybody in the real world cares one bit.
My baby brother Andy is a very successful lawyer with multiple offices in Columbia, SC. He’s successful, not because of his GPA at USC, but because he’s a rainmaker who knows how to generate business in the real world. You don’t learn that in college.
The high school and college experience are the greatest times in a student’s life. Those years are a gift from God; don’t waste them in the library. Work hard and play hard.
When I played football in high school, I wasn’t a gifted athlete but I knew how to have fun. When I hit 45, I noticed I couldn’t play with my son’s football or softball teams like I once did. Now that I’m 65,
I’ve been relegated to being the world’s oldest ball boy. I quote my old high school football coach when I do pre-game intros with the referees: “I’m short but I’m slow.”
My best advice to college kids, learn but have fun. Life is not about competition; it’s about connections. Treasure your time in school.
Our Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness. It guarantees the pursuit of happiness. It’s up to you to find your place in the world.
We often hear that the best days of your life are ahead of you. Well, so are the worst and when it’s over and done with, you aren’t getting out of here alive. Life gives and life takes away and eventually your life is taken away. Make the most of it while you’re here.
Wakeup call, in spite of what kids think today, YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL!
Nobody out here in the real world thinks you’re special. The real world doesn’t care!
My generation, the baby boomer parents, have rewarded mediocrity.
Those bumper stickers that say, “My child is in the top half of the class at Lakeview Elementary School” really kill me. My child made it possible.
This entitlement mentality which exist today leads to whiners not winners, and the last thing we need in the world today are more whiners! Out here in the real world, everybody takes it on the chin at one time or another. Life isn’t fair. It’s not what happens to you; it’s what you do about it. It’s your choice.
Success is overrated. It’s not the largeness of your bank account in life; it’s the smallness of your goals. It’s not about your career in life; it’s about your calling. Your career is what you’re paid for and your calling is what you’re made for.