Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Parting Thoughts to My Graduating Students

As a rule, people don't ask me to give commencement addresses, homecoming speeches or to speak at formal convocations. But if they did, this is the kind of thing I would say. . .
  • Read at least one book that changes your life every year (or, at least has the potential to do so). This could be something by Dostoyevsky or something a bit more serious like, Snorkeling for Dummies.
  • Every so often learn to do something new that is hard. Remember how to be a beginner.
  • Teach something to somebody else who really needs your help, if and when they ask, the rest of the time, not so much.
  • After you are 35, listen to music you cared about 20 years earlier. And even more importantly, remember why it mattered.
  • Invest yourself in people and causes that you care about passionately. Bind yourself to these with all the heart you can muster.
  • Keep a journal or notebook so you can write down things you think matter: ideas, things you want to do, song lyrics, drink recipes, phone numbers, etc.
  • Collect interesting stuff, sea shells, old cameras or wood carvings.
  • Wear clean underwear most days. (If you are male, wear underwear most days.)
  • Get over yourself; allow your screwy habits and failures to make you interesting, rather than living in denial.
  • Do what you are good at; it is usually what you love doing.

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