I'm no Ira Glass, but If I were giving a commencement speech to new graduates, I certainly wouldn't sugar coat anything.
Of course, you already know that we are in a recession and that jobs are scarce. Hopefully your four years plus in college have served as a platform for more than just academics.
When I was leaving for college, my father gave me some sage advice. He said, "Of course I want you to do well academically” (he had to say that since he was a teacher), “but more importantly, I want you to take these four years to mature and grow socially. That will serve you far better than a 4.0." I might have taken the social advice a little too far, but for the most part, he was right.
Given the economic climate, here's what I suggest for new graduates:
1. Have fun.
Most likely you are single with limited baggage. Use your early years to kindle new relationships. These connections, whether personal or business, will serve you well later in life.
2. Keep writing.
I know you've done your fair share already, but writing is a skill that transcends technological change. Try blogging to keep your skills sharp. I truly believe that if you can write, you can do almost anything.
3. Stay close to home.
A recent study suggests that our relationships with friends and family are what make us happy. Stay knitted to these people and they can help you through the bumps in life.
4. Lower your expectations.
Society puts so much pressure on us to "exceed our highest expectations," but if they aren't that high to start with, than you've already succeeded. More importantly, the pressure you put on yourself to be the best might actually blind you to an opportunity that could lead your life on a whole new path.
5. Be nice.
This sounds a little trite, but one thing I've learned over the years is that niceness attracts niceness. Period.
6. Save your money.
My parents did it, but somehow my generation got caught up in the "society of stuff." It's time to go old-school with your finances, ditch your credit cards and save some money.
7. Don't date or be the "50 Shades of Grey" guy.
Somehow this poorly plotted book has been put on a pedestal, since sex clearly still sells. Unfortunately, Christian Grey is just a creepy guy who has deep-rooted issues from childhood. Your spouse or partner will be one of the most integral parts in your life. Make sure you pick a good one.
8. Stay healthy or get healthy.
Exercise, eating well and keeping a healthy mind are enduring habits that will benefit you in all aspects of your life and hopefully will be passed on to your children.
9. It’s not all about you.
Take a little portion of yourself and dedicate it to global goodness. Our world faces many problems and it’s your social responsibility to help improve things for generations to follow.
10. Think creatively.
I recently heard that young adults today will have seven to ten career changes in their life time, five of which don't exist yet. The future appears to be an exciting mystery. The best you can do is arm yourself with common sense and creativity.