Advice to High School Seniors.... Your Thoughts Please

13 replies
Hi Warriors:

This coming April it will be 2 years since I stopped teaching HS English and began writing and a little Internet Marketing as well.

Well, I thought those days were long behind me... but to my surprise, I got a call from the President of the 2009 class where I used to teach and they voted me as their guest speaker at graduation.

I have about 5 months to prepare for the speech, and I have a lot of ideas, but I would really like to know what all of you think.

So, if you had a chance to give advice/encouragement to a bunch of 17 and 18 year old young adults on probably their biggest day of their life thus far, what would it be?

I'm thinking the advice would probably be good for most people on the forum too.

Any and all thoughts are more than welcome.

Thanks in advance,

#advice #encouragement #graduation #high #life lessons #school #seniors #thoughts
  • Profile picture of the author AdamHaroun
    Well, as someone who just graduated high school and is now a university freshman, let me share with you what has been my driving force and what has propelled me to success in my endeavors at such a young age !

    Quite simply, I have never let anyone convince me that "I CANT". I've gone for my goals, aspirations, and dreams and tuned out the voices that told me "It won't work", "You're too young!", and "That'll never happen!"

    To be quite blunt about it, I believe that there is nothing stronger on this earth than the human spirit and what it can achieve when fueled with passion, drive, and encouragement.

    Sure, it may sound like a dumb, played-out cliche...but for a moment think how many high school seniors have big dreams, ambitions, and goals; and how many times they may have been shot down by family, peer pressure, negative influences, in the media, etc.

    Similarly, how many high school seniors have come to doubt themselves and be raised in a society that is focused on fear, mediocrity, and settling for the "security" of a regular 9-to-5 existence...never imagining their potential to soar and do something BIG.

    Sometimes for such impressionable young adults they just need an encouraging voice to reassure them and say "Yes, you can!"

    ...hope that little bit of insight helps
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  • Profile picture of the author Chaiwriter
    Thanks Adam. That's definitely the way I want to go with the speech.

    BTW - Just started following you on Twitter too.

    Take care,

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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Leatherman
    Hey Chai, take if from an Old Geezer, whatever it is keep it short, to the point and sweet. These folks liked you for a reason and my guess is because you made learning fun for them and got your point across with out a lot of wandering.

    The Old Geezer
    Ghost Writing Services Coming Soon

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  • Profile picture of the author Metro123
    I teach young people in other venues other than the school system. What I've experienced is that they want you to tell them the truth. Don't sugarcoat your words. But I also, give them some options to think about. Every graduate isn't going to college nor wants to go to college. Whatever path they choose, they must be willing to do the work to be the best they can be. I also agree the other comments. Short, to the point. I don't accept can't as an option, nor was I allowed growing up to say I can't. Finally, failure is an experience, it's not the end. Think about Albert Einstein, George Washinton Carver, and others. Whom if not for their trying and not accepting I can't - might great discoveries not be made when they were. (english grammar doesn't count right now:-)
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  • Profile picture of the author forous
    Let them know they can be whatever good career, business or sports they put their mind to it and stay focus. Let them know it is alright to fail but they have to learn from it.
    Knowledge is not power, but applied knowledge is power. Encourage them to read and make get mentor.

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  • Profile picture of the author John Rowe
    Jim Rohn's got a lot of great lessons for young people. If you grab his audio program called Challenge to Succeed, you'll have some life changing stuff you might want to offer to them.

    We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.
    ~ Milton Friedman

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    • Profile picture of the author jmidas
      #1: Education never ends.
      #2: Never take "no" for an answer
      #3) Avoid excessive debt. You dont need 10 credit cards and you dont need a new car the day you get your first job.
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  • Profile picture of the author Liz Sullivan
    Maybe you could get some ideas from Steve Jobs. Here's the commencement speech he delivered to Stanford graduates in 2005.

    Very inspirational. I've watched it more than a few times!

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  • Profile picture of the author Chaiwriter
    Wow, there are a lot of great suggestions here!

    Thanks everyone and keep 'em coming.

    Somehow I want to work Dylan Thomas into the whole thing... They would be disappointed if I didn't include some poetry somehow.

    The "keep it short" suggestion is so true too. I sat through 5 of them myself, and the short ones were always the most welcome.

    When the class prez. called me I asked him how long they allotted me and he said as long as I wanted. Boy, that could be dangerous. So I told him to tell his classmates to pack a snack. He laughed but I'm sure he hopes I wasn't a little bit serious.

    Thanks again... and please keep them coming!

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  • Profile picture of the author nikhilg

    As Sun Tzu said,

    "If you know yourself and know the enemy you need not fear the results of a thousand battles.
    If you know yourself and not the enemy then for every victory you win you will also suffer a defeat
    If you know neither yourself nor the enemy then you will lose all your battles."

    The Greek philosophers said that the most difficult and the most worthwhile undertaking is to know yourself.

    The same message is there in Hinduism and other eastern philosophies.

    As to how to go about knowing yourself - refer them to Thich Nhat Hanh's book - The Miracle of Mindfulness. What is important is direct first hand experiencing of your thoughts and feelings - simply being a witness. Analysis, finding explanations and making excuses for your behaviour is a waste of time - in fact it is a gross misuse of time.

    Hope this help - I have a background in philosophy and this may not have any direct connection with helping youngsters make progress and make money but in the long run they will be better off if they give some attention to spirituality also.


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    • Profile picture of the author Chaiwriter
      Originally Posted by nikhilg View Post


      The Greek philosophers said that the most difficult and the most worthwhile undertaking is to know yourself.

      The same message is there in Hinduism and other eastern philosophies.


      Thank you for that! I hadn't yet thought about including this in my speech but it's so true and I really need to include it.

      I actually had the kids write in journals every single day and over half the time I let them write about themselves, and I stressed the importance of journal writing helping them work out problems in their lives.

      I know my writing in high school helped me through a ton of crap and that was because it helped me work through things and also helped me get to know myself as well as possible.

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  • Profile picture of the author nikhilg
    Hi Chai,

    Glad you liked my post.

    All the best.


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  • Profile picture of the author Chaiwriter

    You're very right. One of the reasons why I looked for a way out of teaching.

    Schools tell the teachers exactly what to teach and teachers tell the students exactly how to learn.

    My "freelancing" in the classroom was liked by the first principal but the new woman that came in always got on me for having the kids read a book that wasn't approved or allowing a student to write about personal things in their journal.

    Just a bunch of crap.

    We are trying to create a bunch of robots.

    Not good.

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