Thoughts for the Class of '16

Specifically college graduates, but I might have thought about high schoolers a little.
  1. Wear sunscreen.
    This was good advice in 1999, and it's still true today. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI
  2. Just start.
    My first job out of college was a part time retail gig in a mall, which did not require the shiny and expensive English degree I'd just acquired. Twelve years later, I work for the same company at the corporate headquarters. This is after winning a writing mentorship, working for a book distribution company, and having about four other jobs. You never know which way things will go, so just start and go.
  3. Even dream jobs suck a little bit.
    I work for an awesome company, but it's still a fucking job that sometimes I'd rather not be doing. You keep going because you're an adult now. But you make it better by finding ways to tweak the job when you can, and have beer at night when you can't.
  4. Be patient with other people, and extend the same courtesy to yourself.
    Seriously, swiping right doesn't translate well to actual relationships.
  5. Volunteer.
    It could be packing food at a food bank, could be tutoring at a Y, could be ushering at a cool gallery, could be offering your seat on a bus. You're young and you've got time and, as a graduate, you're ahead of nearly half the population. An hour a month would make a difference.
  6. Pay attention to your regrets.
    What do you wish you'd done, or done differently, in the last five years? You won't get the same chances again, but you'll get new ones, and there will be echoes of the past in there. Would you be nicer? Make the first move? Stop taking shit from ignorant jerks? Take a running start? Prep yourself.
  7. If someone offers you a mystery pill, don't swallow it. Unless a friend is there to make sure you stay alive, then go for it.
    Strength in numbers, glory in adventure, and so on. Take risks, but don't be a fucking idiot.
  8. Congratulations!
    You've accomplished things, and you can accomplish more. Good luck.