Bramble On: Dear graduates, |

Bramble On: Dear graduates,

Isaac Brambila

Last Friday, watching your youthful and momentarily confident energy as you hid under umbrellas and pieces of paper from the growing rain during Friday’s graduation ceremony, eagerly anticipating the moment when you got to turn your tassel, I thought a little about my own graduation. I thought mostly about my college graduation, because it’s getting harder to remember my high school years (one day you will experience this). As I pondered those days leading up to graduation, and everything that has happened since, I also remembered something I thought was a little comical, the sheer amount clichés aimed at all of us graduates. This clichéd advice was meant to help shape the building blocks of my future, it was meant to guide me through my formative years and expected to keep me focused.

Clichés are usually cheesy and easy to ignore, they’re incomplete advice, but they do hold some truth. Here are a few I think are worth listening to and a few clarifications to give them value.

“Do what makes you happy.” You should do what makes you happy, just acknowledge that maybe poverty and hunger can make you unhappy. Also know that doing what makes you happy is not as simple as dropping everything and aimlessly doing what you want. You must find a way to make what makes you happy a viable way of life. It will take a lot of planning, a lot of research and a sound strategy to find a way to make that fun thing you like doing support a comfortable way of life, but with some creative thinking, you can pull it off.

“If you want something bad enough, you will find a way.” This one is often true, but grossly oversimplified. Please know that if you want something bad enough, you have a good shot at getting it. But, also know that most people will never want anything that bad. Wanting something bad enough means aiming most of your decisions at bringing you closer to that thing, dedicating most of your time to it, making sacrifices most people will be unwilling to make, it means leaving your friends and family behind and exploring scary unknown places, it means sometimes sacrificing fun times, it means long hours of work, nights of hunger, mornings of exhaustion, and months, or years, of less-than-ideal living situations, and being happy to experience those things in exchange for just the promise that one day you will get what you want. You will get what you want, not by simply wanting it bad enough, but because of the work you put in and sacrifices you make. If you are not willing to make those sacrifices, you don’t want it bad enough. Find something else to do.

“Time is money,” but often there are better things to do with your time.

Understand that money is only as valuable as the happiness it brings and does not guarantee it or equal success. Understand that a low-paying job can sometimes bring more success than a higher paying job, but that its value only goes as far as the happiness and satisfaction it brings. With a few smart choices and a little luck, you will find a balance between the two.

Understand that in college, the knowledge you gain outside of the classroom won’t be as valuable as the knowledge you gain inside, but it will take you a lot further than the knowledge you gain inside the classroom can ever take you on its own.

Know that the exhaustion of studying until 6 a.m. is worth the time you spent with your friends during the day at the beach, or the park, or the pool, or simply lounging around at your buddy’s apartment or dorm. But also know that those all-night study sessions are essential to the value of your college experience.

And one piece of advice that is not a cliché but I though was worth mentioning, I heard from Bob Grant at South Tahoe High School. “Have a plan and amend it as needed.”

It’s OK to wander, college, or maybe a break between high school and college, is the time to find yourself, but it is important not to wander too far. Make sure that even if you’re wandering, you’re wandering in the general direction of something. Your plan can be focused or it can be somewhat vague, but make sure you have one.

Now, get out there, the world is your oyster, live everyday as if it were your last, you are the future, dare to live your dreams, and all clichés that you can insert into this category. I wish you all the best.



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