What do you say to someone who is about to "enter the real world" soon?  What advice would you give them?

It’s that time of year again. Proms are happening and grad parties are being planned. A whole new group of young adults is about to leave the classroom and either enter the workforce or move on to higher educational institutions. If I could pass on a bit of advice to those graduating seniors, what would it be?

I actually wrote down these things a few years ago.  Crazy enough, I think they're still useful today.  Granted, this advice is based on my personal experience over the years, and their lives and circumstances may be different than mine. However, these are the things that I learned after I left high school, and I thought I’d share my list with them.

  1. Money is NOT everything. Enjoying your life is what really counts. There will be decisions that you will have to make that will test you. Always think about your happiness first.
  2. If you want something, go and get it. Don’t wait for it to come to you. You might find that you’re waiting a whole lot longer than you have to.
  3. Promisory notes and credit cards don’t go away by themselves. They really do want you to pay back all that money that you’re borrowing from them...and they'll keep asking for as long as it takes to get every last penny back.
  4. Stay away from Ramen noodles. They’re delicious! But there’s nothing about them that’s good for you.
  5. If you can make it happen, live on campus. Some of the things you will learn there are much more valuable than what you will learn in the classroom.
  6. College doesn't make you better off.  Working hard does. There are plenty of people who are very successful in this world despite the fact that they didn’t go to college. However, most of them didn’t get where they are by wishing they could be successful. They worked hard to get there.  Don't act like you deserve something more because you went to college.
  7. Work hard. Eventually someone will see it, and it WILL pay off. Remember, if you put your name on something to make it your best work.
  8. If you visit the hometown of the guy in your dorm that is bragging about how great he was back in high school, chances are, he wasn’t as good as he wants you to believe he was.
  9. You might have better single moments in your life. You may have kids, you may get married, you might get a great job. But these times that you’re having with your friends will be what you look back at as the good old days.
  10. Be persistent. Make people remember your name.

Whatever you do, remember to live your life the way that you want to live it. Just make sure that at the end of the day, when you lay your head on your pillow, that you can say that you are proud of what you have done.

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