Congratulations Class of 2018!!! You all have a bright future ahead of you, but it's going to take hard work. Let me give you some unsolicited advice.
You are not done learning. Not even close. Learn a trade. Going to college is typically the best route to take and I suggest going for it. I know it's expensive and only getting worse year after year so go after the free money. Grants and scholarships take a huge burden off your back. If not college, go to a technical school. You can fast track your way into a career.
You don't know everything. Truthfully, you don't know much of anything. You may be an adult in the eyes of the government, but most of you are still living at home and have no idea what it take to be self sufficient. Life. Is. Expensive.
Eat your vegetables.
Find a mentor. It could be a parent, but it doesn't have to be. Look at the adults in your life and think about who you want to be like in 20 years. Who most represents that person. Reach out to them and ask for advice. Be specific and listen, but it's up to you to follow it.
Get a job. Not necessarily a career. You are young and need to figure out what you want in life. Any experience is good experience. Just don't get tied down and forget about reaching for more. Remember, you aren't done learning.
When working, always do your best. People will notice. Your work ethic is something you develop now. Every job is important to the person you are doing it for. Remember that.
Call your mother.
Save for the future. Start now. Get use to it. If your employer has a 401k and matches contributions, DO IT!! Its free money! The goal is for retirement to be enjoyable, not month to month.
Don't be afraid to fail. If you miss the first time, keep on shooting. You will get better with each attempt. You will succeed, but it's up to you to try. In the end, regret is worse than failure so whatever it is, go for it.
Be respectful. Respect is not earned, it is lost and it is damn hard to get back. You may find people you don't like or disagree with and that's ok, but respect them. The Golden Rule still applies.
Don't pass judgement on people. Don't assume you know someone. Don't be prejudice. Don't judge the book by its cover.
I realize so far adulthood sounds like nothing but hard work, but it's so much more. It's an adventure that your hard work will allow to be possible.
Have fun and enjoy life! Find a passion and pursue it. If you like to paint, then do it! Like hiking, then go! You're an adult now, you don't need permission. Find something you love and do it!
You only get one life and it's up to you to make it as great as you want. No one is going to do it for you. Yes, it will be hard sometimes. There is no formula for the future and yours is not written in stone. At your age, everything is possible. Don't let anyone tell you its not. Surround yourself with people that want to see you succeed. A good support network can get you through most anything. Negativity is like a virus. Don't get infected.
The seeds you plant now will grow into who you become. The future sounds like a long time from now, but just remember tomorrow is the future. Always live today, for a better tomorrow.
Good luck to you all,
Doug and the Geeks