For The Graduates..

By May 23, 2014 2 Comments

All across the country, high school students just had the “biggest day of their lives:” graduation day. Not to date myself too much, but 14 years ago I was walking across that same stage many of you have or will soon walk across. I have never given a commencement address before, but if I were to give one, this is what I would say.

Congratulations on your graduation from high school. It is a great achievement in your life, but don’t make it the last one. You should have graduated from high school. You will often hear that your high school years are the best years of your life. I loved my four years of high school, but they’re not going to be the best four of my life. If you think that way, you’re thinking too small and cheating yourself. Your best days are ahead of you. It’s not downhill after high school; it only gets better. You must be willing to work hard, develop lasting relationships, and be willing to serve others. Enjoy the final days and summer with your high school friends, but remember you are about to embark on a new journey and one that will lead you the best days of your life.

One of my favorite movie quotes is comes from Crash, “You think you know who you are but you have no idea.” I love this because it applies to my life. I thought I knew everything and had everything planned out at 18 years of age. I remember telling a friend of the family that I’ll always have a buzzed head (I used a zero guard) and that I’ll always live in St. Charles, Missouri. She said, “Just wait until you meet your future wife.” Well the hair thing lasted until I met my future wife in my sophomore year of college, and I haven’t lived in St. Charles since we moved in together after college. I’ve changed a lot, and for the better. And so will you. Be open to change and be willing to deviate from what you know. Just because something is what you’ve always known doesn’t necessary make it the best or right. In 14 years from now, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve changed.

Another thing you’ll find to be true is the saying, “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who know.” Résumés  are a dime a dozen to employers. In order to land the job you want you must be connected. Start by getting involved in as many clubs and activities with people who have similar interests to you and your future career field. Introduce yourself and make lasting friendships. These connections will help you more than you’ll ever know when it comes time to land a job.

The number one thing you need to do after high school, whether it’s in college or in the workforce, is show up!  Get up and get out bed. Get to class. The number one reason people fail is that they don’t show up. If you’re going to party, make a deal with yourself. Tell yourself, “I’m not going out unless I make to class and have my work done. “ Find someone who will hold you accountable to this. You need to be seen and not heard. Show up and put in the work necessary. If you don’t like the class, keep the end goal in mind and get through it. We’ll all do it the adult world. Learn to deal with it. Always remember that fortune favors the bold. So show up, get after it, and get better!

As you get older you come to understand that life is hard but worth it. Enjoy the ride while it lasts because we never know when it’s going to end. In a couple of years you’re going to look back on all the drama from high school and laugh. Learn to not take yourself so seriously; no one else does. That’s a cold hard truth. While you are busy making a living, don’t forget to make a life. Take time to make memories with friends, spouses, and your children. Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Always remember, “You can have anything you want in this life, if you will just help enough people get what they want in life.”

What are some other “nuggets” of advice you’d share with this year’s graduates? Graduates, what’s the best advice you have received so far?

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be and RGP today!



Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Kyle,
    That was really good! You certainly get at the heart of where kids need to be pointing themselves – their futures and all that awaits them if they set themselves on the right course.

    As a coach for 25+ years, I always wanted to say the kinds of things you have said here and to give my graduating players a meaningful gift at their graduations, but on a teacher’s salary, it was hard to do that, especially in those years when I had 5-10 seniors graduating. Two years ago, I finally did something about it. I wrote a short book for graduates called “Messages of Inspiration for the Graduate” that was based on many of the team themes that we used throughout the season – things like discipline, work ethic, accountability, etc. Each chapter starts with a few paragraphs of ideas on those traits/characteristics and then has numerous quotes from famous and not-so-famous people, mainly from the world of athletics, talking about those same qualities. My kids have enjoyed them, and I like knowing that 10, 15, 20 years from now, they might come across the book and remember their time in our program.

    However, other coaches have REALLY liked the book because they were struggling with the same issue I was having – coming up with a meaningful, affordable gift to give to their graduating players. This is the first year I have promoted them very much outside of my own community, and I have had to make numerous extra print runs because so many coaches around the country have been ordering them to give to their graduating seniors.

    I have them for sale for $5.00 on my website – http://www.scottrosberg.com – but I would like to send you one for free as a way of saying “Thanks” for all the great posts you make and the difference you are making in kids’ lives through your messages for coaches, kids, and parents. Email me at scott@proactivecoaching.info with an address I can send it to.

    I really appreciate the work you are doing with this blog trying to help kids have positive athletic experiences. I’m sure your players are very fortunate to have you as their coach. Have a great summer, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

  • kelmendorf says:

    Thanks again for reading and commenting Scott, I appreciate it! Thank you so much for the book, I can’t wait to read it. It sounds excellent! Hope you have a great weekend!