Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Graduation Advice

Around this time last year, my mailbox was flooded with 14 graduation announcements and party initiations (!) for a wide variety of precious darlings "graduating" from everything from kindergarten to college and a few crazy grades in between. You can read about it HERE.

Apparently I am not so popular on mailing lists anymore. I wonder if word got out that I was less than excited to be bombarded with so many bogus graduation announcements requiring gifts.

This time around only one announcement and invite graced my mailbox and it was from my oh so smart niece Kel. (And I was VERY happy to receive it!) I recently mentioned her brain power and showed you a picture of her HERE. Too busy to click over? Here's another picture for your viewing pleasure....

Kel's announcement arrived in a bulging envelope because she is not only graduating from high school with honors, she is also graduating from the community college with an Associates Degree in Science! All that and she's a horse-riding, gymnastic teaching, ice creaming scooping, busy bee who has more energy and enthusiasm than you can shake a stick at. In other words, and I am by no means bragging, *ahem* Kel gets great grades, works two part time jobs, participates in school activities and is A LOT of fun to be around.

And that's my problem....

With all the Grad congratulating I did last year, you'd think I'd be able to come up with some original words of wisdom for Kel's graduation card that will inspire and energize her to continue on her education path and bright future as she studies to be a Physical Therapist.

But so far.... I got nothing.

All I'm coming up with are the usual cliches and common as carrots messages that will cause her eyes to glaze over and move on to the next well-wishing card. (Not that she won't appreciate it, I'm just saying-- boring is boring and she is only 17, after all.)

Did I mention that I've been working on writing this card for three days and still-- nothing, nada, zero, zilch, other than-- reach for the stars, don't party til you puke, or watch out for the Freshman 15. Like I said, not the least bit inspiring.

What do you say to a smart, funny, kind, generous, 17 year old girl who's heading to a major University in the fall with big dreams, lots of brains, a sparkle in her eye, and the world at her feet???

Seriously, help me out please....

What words of "real world" advice and/or wisdom do you have for a graduate about to head off to college?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
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  1. Just remember that flashing your breasts after a drunken rage, will never go out of style.

  2. I have no words of wisdom but I'm sure sending her the link to this post will let her know just how amazing you think she is.

  3. I've posted about Tribune columnist Mary Schmich's Sunscreen advice before. Also, it was put to music.
    So maybe you know about it. It really does offer some good advice.
    Here's the link

    In it she says this about advice:
    "Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth."

  4. Tell her that she has only one opportunity in this lifetime to leave a mark. She can leave a mark on someone's heart. She can leave a mark on a child who needs to know that they are safe. She can leave a mark to let someone know that they are no alone. She can leave a mark by teaching someone something that she knows so very well. But, thing is, only she can leave her mark....her signature. Whatever path she heads in determines whether her mark will be bold and courageous, uncertain and unsure. Tell her to live life like she is dying and give it all she's got. Leave her mark on the world!

    (Sorry...I'm a bit creatively tapped at the moment. That's all I could come up with.)

  5. WOW all good advice...I'm so not good with words....I did say make good choices! She is amazing at 17 I'm wow'd by her.

  6. I would write her a letter of your wisdom that she can cherish one day.
    it will come to you from your heart,tell her you love her and will be there for her. tell her how proud you are, your writing lights up when you write about her... good luck have a great day.

  7. That as a physical therapist she is entering the healing arts. She will touch so many peoples lives in ways she can't imagine. Helping them to walk and talk and overcome their pain. It is work that requires an inquisitve brain and an open heart for which she is perfectly suited.

    And if that doesn't float her boat, there's always Kristina's advice.

  8. Oh, I am the last one to give advices to graduates.;) But I once stumbled upon a great little book called "Life's little instruction book" written by Jacksn Brown Jr., which he wrote for his son when he was moving away from home. Perhaps it might be of some inspiration:


    Have a lovely day,

  9. Why does it have to be something serious? Why not something like : "Have fun and don't forget to wash your socks"! lol

  10. I have a granddaughter who is graduating as well and I am at a loss for words myself. I guess I will end up saying, "I am so proud of you!" And give her money!!!!!
    I am proud of her and she will love the money!!
    Kristina's advice is a novel approach to all of this!! LOL!

  11. to taste life...and walk wisely...because her experiences the next four years will shape the next 40...

  12. I'm not good at this type of thing myself.

    I think you'll know what to say when you start writing....just do it from the heart. :)

    p.s. Kel sounds like a wonderful girl. :)

  13. I think you've nailed it right there. How about:

    "What do you say to a smart, funny, kind, generous, 17 year old girl who's heading to a major University in the fall with big dreams, lots of brains, a sparkle in her eye, and the world at her feet???

    All I can think of dear Kel is that I'm very proud of you and I love you.

    ~ Joanna"

    Would that do? :)

  14. Just tell her to stay true to herself...to be the person she wants to be....to lead not follow....uh, I guess those are all the norm aren't they? Tough one.....

  15. I think you just said it all in the last paragraph. I bet she'd love hear that from you.

  16. I think you have some excellent answers here. I love what Chocolate above wrote about making her mark. I think if you are passionate about what is important to you, life will have great meaning. Also, staying true to one's self and one's values can keep one focused.

    And, of course, telling her how proud ofher you are, and how very much you love her, never gets old!

  17. You say....

    Keep doing what you're doing. It's working.

    Congratulations to Kel and to YOU, Joanna. Graduations are mighty exciting!

  18. Ditto what Eternally Distracted said, I was thinking the same thing.
    But seriously, all these graduations are bogus. High school and college are accepatable, even expected.
    But middle school, elementary school, lower-elementary school, etc.? How ridiculous! If the parents want to send out an announcement, all good and fine, but please don't expect gifts and everyone ooh'ing and aahh'ing over your little darling for getting through another year of life.
    Sorry, didn't mean to go on such a rant!

  19. I agree with those who think the last paragraph expresses what is in your heart and should be shared with her.

  20. You're probably going to get a million of these, but this girl doesn't need your advice, at all. If it were me, I'd just tell her what a joy it's been to watch her become who she is and how much fun it's going to be to see who she becomes. Something along those lines. That ought to do it. :)


  21. You've probably already got good words of wisdom from your 20 previous comments. I'd just tell her I wish I could be in her shoes, with such a brilliant future in front of her. I don't like to give grads advice, just encouragement. Kel doesn't sound like the type of young woman who needs a whole lot of advice, anyway!

    I'm happy for you that the tide of bogus kindergarten graduations has been stemmed. I remember thinking my OWN 8th-grade graduation ceremony was pointless!

    (Sorry I haven't commented in a while...I've had to cut back on my blog activity to fit in all the other activity in my life!)

  22. Interesting that your love for your niece is so strong that even your words on her graduation card have deep meaning for you. The fact that mere words can't support how proud of her you are is a testament to your true relationship with her.

  23. I am enjoying reading all these comments. I would tell her what I wished I did - not to stress about everything, take time to slow down and enjoy the moment! I know that is a bit airy fairy, but truly I wish I had not been so worried and actually enjoyed myself more.

  24. What ever you say, as kind as you are, I'm sure it will be just the right thing!

  25. Joanna, you just wrote your card! I think anything from the heart is much appreciated no matter how old or young we are.

    I remember when I turned 18 my mom wished me a HB and pointed to the door, saying the world out there can be cruel at times, now go out there and show me what you have learned. I always remember this moment even after many years later.
    When my niece graduated from HS I had one of my porcelain cookie jars (I paint on) out for her guest to write a sweet comment (I posted about it last year). Afterwards I fired it and gave it to her on the day she left for college filled with cookies. It was our mission to keep it full. I thought it would be a great ice breaker her first week away, and neat to reach for a cookie during those long days and nights of studying plus if she got homesick she could read the love around her cookie jar.

    Many hugs... xo

  26. Knowing that your proud of her and love her are all she needs to know!

  27. No advice here. I´m really bad with words. I´m always amazed when I finish a post.... :9)
    Good luck, I think some of the other commenters gave good advice.

  28. I can't help write your card but it is obvious to me this gal is destined for success. What challenging accomplishments at her tender age. I see why you are one proud auntie.

    Ya have a marvelous day sweetie!!!

  29. I got nothing because I've been tapped out too--too many graduates AGAIN this year.

  30. Joanna I have a very literary friend and you might be interested in this quote we were chatting about recently. She even explained it to me so beautifully and it sounds like a great grad message, compliments of William Shakespeare:

    'Look, what is best, that best I wish in thee.
    This wish I have, then ten times happy me!'

    It's about a parent's love for their children, or anyone's unselfish love; wanting the best for their loved one, and that making them ten times happier. They are the last two lines of sonnet 37 which describes an old man getting joy from a younger person's accomplishments and beauty.

  31. You might want to copy this post, and send it to her...it's beautiful! And it demonstrates how much you love her and how proud you are!! Lovely post! ~Janine XO

  32. I agree with the others .......make a copy of this post and the other one!!
    Oh and tell her to be careful if she uses facebook!!

  33. First, you have every reason to be proud and bragging about someone else's accomplishments is wonderful in my book. I think your last paragraph says it all. It's from your heart and conveys how incredible you think she is. :) xoxo

  34. I would tell this beautiful young lady to always love her life!

  35. What do you say to a smart, funny, kind, generous, 17 year old girl who's heading to a major University in the fall with big dreams, lots of brains, a sparkle in her eye, and the world at her feet???

    That's what you say to that girl...it's perfect!

  36. Tell her not to be in too much of a rush to grow up. Tell her that it is important to be successful and driven but it is also vital to take the time during these years in her life to enjoy her youth and establish memories that she can smile about when she tells her kids about when she was young. Just don't be in too much of a rush to grow up.

  37. I have a few crass jokes, but that's about it.

  38. You could write her a nice letter about how much you admire what she's accomplished. And that you're proud of her for not being the type of person who rests on her laurels but one who is constantly reaching for the stars. Hope that helps some.

  39. You write her a letter with the same content as this post!

    You could tell her how proud you are, that you will always be there for her, no matter what.

    Other words of wisdom:

    - Believe in yourself and always be true to yourself

    - It's OK to make mistakes as long as we learn from them

    - Choose a future with a past we can be proud of

  40. That's a tough one!!! When I was a h.s. teacher and got invited to a lot of grad parties...I would burn them the Leann Womack song "I hope you dance" and include the lyrics b/c I thought that was just about as perfect advice as I could find!

  41. That's a tough one!!! When I was a h.s. teacher and got invited to a lot of grad parties...I would burn them the Leann Womack song "I hope you dance" and include the lyrics b/c I thought that was just about as perfect advice as I could find!

  42. I think I'd be super boring and say "Great job! Congrats!" Bleh.

  43. I think you just did it in writing a post about her let's her know how proud you are and how much you care.

  44. Oh gosh, I am so sorry, I'm struggling myself - if you find out, will you let me know? My 18yr old is also set for university this year to study pure economics - graduated top of his year (oops, did I just do that shameless bragging bit, I always promised not to do??)! Your neice is so blessed to have such a loving Aunt as you - sounds like she is headed for great things!!

  45. My best advice is - Don't get a credit card!

  46. Joanna,
    At the risk of being horribly self-promotional, I wrote a column called "Survival Guide for Grads" for my newspaper column, the year my son graduated. It's reprinted on page 231 of my book, Writing Home, but I also reran a slightly different version of it on 50-something Moms blog not long ago. A lot of readers told me they clipped it out of the paper and mailed it to new grads, or posted it on the fridge -- the ultimate honor for a columnist! Here's the link to it: http://www.50somethingmoms.com/2008/05/a-survival-guid.html

  47. I like the washing socks idea. And then print out this post and enclose it. :) How wonderful!

  48. It's so hard when you really want it to mean something!
    Follow your heart and remind her to pack coffee!

  49. Wear sunscreen.
    Be relentlessly cheerful when you feel like crap.
    French fries do TOO make you feel better when hungover.
    Be curious.
    When you're about to do something dangerous/scary/stupid - think about the look on your parents' faces when they read about it in the newpaper / on a bathroom wall / in Playboy.
    Have enough fun to break lots of hearts.
    Love enough to get your own heart broken.
    Own your actions, your soul, your studies, your love, your body, your life - don't give your power away to anyone else.
    Live your own life - all the others are taken.
    A morning without coffee is like...sleep.

    Oh the places you'll go! Read Dr. Seuss.

    That's all I've got, but it's worked pretty well.

    Oh - and for guys graduating?

    Dude. You'll rock.

    Peace out.

  50. Joanna, this will probably sound boring but I would just write from the heart congratulating and wishing her well, and mentioning how proud you are of her achievements.

  51. I would say
    'Life is short. Chase your dreams. Remember to have fun and to make a difference.'

    Not very clever. And certainly not as good as Kristina's flash your breast advice... : )

  52. I know you will come up with just the right words. What a wonderful young lady she is, no wonder you are such a proud Auntie.

  53. My best advice would be: Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.


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