What We Wish We Had Known

But No One Could Tell Us

Graduation season is upon us.  Watching the class of 2021 put on their cap and gown, takes us back to when we donned our own caps and gowns.  Whether we graduated last year or last century, we remember that time in our lives.  A time sprinkled with some fear and some optimism.  It is not easy figuring out the next step.  The end of high school marks the end of the childhood years and carefree summers.  Suddenly, we are supposed to know what we want to do with the rest of our lives.  We probably also remember the words of advice (helpful and not helpful) that are given.  Of course, we do not want to cloud our current graduates’ heads with our advice.  They will have to figure out how to live life their way.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We do the best we can with what we know. We cannot ask much more from ourselves than this. Even still there is some advice I would love to have given my just graduated self.

  1. Believe in yourself. 
  2. Listen to that voice inside.
  3. You do not have to have it all figured out at 18. 
  4. The world is bigger than your high school. 
  5. Your parents were right.  Be careful who you hang out with.
  6. You can do big things. 
  7. You do not have to do them all at once. 
  8. Never stop learning.
  9. Use your money on experiences rather than things.
  10. Life is not meant to be lived through a screen. 
  11. Wear the bathing suit.
  12. Take lots of pictures. Be in lots of pictures.
  13. Sunset is beautiful but so is sunrise.
  14. Music is really good therapy. Old is best.
  15. Nature is also really good therapy. 
  16. Laugh at yourself. 
  17. Laugh lots. 
  18. You get two choices:  be positive or be negative. 
  19. Always be positive. 
  20. Forgive easily. 
  21. Your best days have not been lived yet. 

Graduates, one day, you will look back and have your own thoughts about the way a life should be lived.  You will learn from your own experiences and mistakes.  All those things we cannot find out until we live them.  Things that make us realize we do not have it all figured and probably never will.  Know that the world is yours to discover, to change, and to make better.  The thing about life – it is fragile, precious, and unpredictable.  Each day is a gift, not a given right.  Do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great!  We wish you more than printed platitudes sold in overpriced cards.  We wish you more than pursed-lips, hands-on-hips selfies.  We wish you more than “posted on social media” happiness.  We wish you joy and gratitude.  We wish you purpose and grace.  Go carpe the heck out of this diem!

Previously Published in the Hampton County Guardian.

Pictured is 2021 Wade Hampton Graduate, Karlie Kinard. Photo by Katie Kowalewksi Photography
Whether you’re a senior in high school or a working adult, college can be expensive and time consuming. Here are some tips on how our family has personally saved thousands on tuition and graduated several with no student loans.

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