Advice to graduates: Choose people
The strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” for graduates to process into the auditorium were still echoing when the celebrating began at a recent commencement ceremony.
There was a little pomp and lots of circumstance: graduates’ families and friends whooping and hollering for their favorites, whistling, a bull horn or two.
The moms and dads and grandmoms and granddads and younger brothers and sisters – and in some cases, the graduates’ children – were rightly proud of their graduates.
At least there were no wildly decorated caps and gowns or beach balls bouncing around during the commencement ceremony. And nobody streaked through, as we used to say in Georgia, “nakkked.”
I’m all for beach balls after the ceremony, though. One of my favorite graduation ceremonies was when No. 1 daughter Meredith graduated from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
After Southern writer-in-residence Clyde Edgerton finished his remarks and the graduates had been duly recognized, a net in the ceiling released hundreds of beach balls made like globes. In other words, the graduates got the world.
I liked Edgerton’s advice to the young people, too. He told them four things: “Listen to your heart. Listen to old people. Talk to children,” and you’re never too happy or too sad to “Listen to the blues.” And that’s when Edgerton pulled out his harmonica and played the blues.
Naturally, the crowd went wild.
I’m certainly not the celebrated writer Edgerton is, but I have a bit of advice for today’s graduates, too.
Craig County, Salem and Glenvar high school seniors and college graduates are getting all kinds of advice right now as they prepare to for their roles in life.
I know making a living, preferably in your field, is considered first and foremost. Even in this iffy job market, graduates dream of big jobs, big salaries and moving to big places.
Do it, if that’s what you believe you want – at least for a little while. But remember the people factor.
It’s tempting to choose jobs and places that sound important. Remember to come home, and to surround yourself with people who are important to you. Notice I said people important to you, not important people.
Keep in touch with your family, your friends, your teachers, people you worked with and played with, and I don’t mean only by Facebook, Twitter and texting.
Come home, too. And when offered a choice between lots of money and enough money and an opportunity to live near family and friends, choose people.