So you’ve just graduated! Congratulations! If you’re like me, everyone is asking about what you will be doing next. Maybe you have plans to attend a college or university. Maybe you are stepping out into the armed forces or a career field. Or maybe you just don’t know yet. Regardless of where you are I want to offer you three great pieces of advice that I wish someone had told me along the way.
- Be intentional with the friends you want to keep. After graduation people have a tendency to go their own way. The things you once had in common like homeroom, the football team, etc. tend to slip into the background. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to lose your friends, but you do need to be intentional about the ones you want to keep. With Facebook, Twitter, and Google +, it’s a lot easier to keep up with the day to day stuff in the life of your friends, but you need to take it a step further. Create a list of friends that you don’t want to lose touch with (I would keep the list down to 3 to 5) and make the effort to connect on a monthly basis with a lunch, coffee, or phone call. Make the personal contact beyond what you see on social media and it will go a long way in preserving your friendships. Don’t wait on your friends to initiate contact. Be the one to get something going.
- Thank the people who helped you along the way. Have your parents supported you? Did you have a teacher that made the difference for you? Often times the only thing these people hear from us are our gripes and complaints. Take time to show them your appreciation. Go beyond the thank you card and either make or buy them something nice. It can be a good meal together at a nice restaurant, time helping your teacher redecorate the room, or even a thoughtful gift. Give back generously to those who supported you along the way.
- Remember where you came from and encourage others. Keep up with your alma mater. Is there an alumni office or an alumni page on Facebook? Stop by and keep up to date on everything that is happening. Show up for alumni events. Encourage others who are still taking classes. Wear your team colors and stop back in from time to time to see how things are going. Support your school with both volunteer hours and financially. Sometimes you will find that the connections you have made with the faculty and staff at your alma mater are still helpful beyond graduation.
Congratulations on making it this far! Keep pressing on. Some of the best days in your life are ahead of you!