As these students rush toward their high school graduation, they’re under the impression they are running toward the finish line. But when they wake up 10 years from now, they’ll realize life was behind them, bull-rushing them into the next stage just like an offensive lineman hitting the tackling sled on a 100-degree day.
Congratulations, Class of 2018 – welcome to the real world. To help you with this transition, the Best Sellers’ List is about to break down 10 things I wish I knew on May 29, 1999.
10. Take advantage of college control
In high school you have overlords to guide your every step. It is mandated that all attend high school. So there is a mixture of elite students and some who are counting down the clock each period. In college, a majority of the students are there by choice. And speaking of choices, you can pick your classes, times and days. Use this power wisely to make your time on campus worthwhile and enjoyable. Like He-Man … “I have the power!”
9. Staying hip will become pointless by 27
The latest styles, music, entertainment and trends are life and death when you’re in high school. Then in college some might dare to become trendsetters. You want to be the one creating the style and going viral in one of those categories. Then life takes over with bills, responsibilities and your affiliation with various organizations. As your brain becomes filled with … priorities, you will turn on the radio one day and you won’t be able to identify who is playing. You will be upset with yourself and try to go research the artist and struggle to hold on to your youth. Then you will have your Scorpions moment and it will “Rock you like a hurricane” that you don’t care about being cool anymore.
8. Judge people by their actions
The world is about to explode right in front of you. No longer are you protected by the walls of your high school, parents and neighborhood. Your daily routine will invite new characters into your sitcom of a life on a regular basis. Like the Snoop Dogg song back in the 1990s, it’s a “Doggy Dogg World” or dog-eat-dog world. People will talk a good game and say whatever they need to in order to get their way. I once bought a “gold” medallion that turned green in three days for $170. I guess I should not have paid attention to the man walking from car to car in the mall parking lot trying to sell stuff.
So watch your surroundings and surround yourself with like-minded people who make progress. If somebody is regressing, detach yourself as soon as possible. On their way down, they will talk you into holding their hand for the entire fall.
7. Filling up a refrigerator
When I was a child, the refrigerator just seemed to stay full of delicious treats. Then when I was a teenager, I would open up the appliance, look at stacked shelves and complain about nothing to eat.
One day in my early 20s, I walked into my kitchen, dreading to open the refrigerator door. The light bouncing off the white interior almost blinded me. It was then I called my Mom and said thank you for all the times she kept the refrigerator full of food.
6. Don’t covet stuff
I’m sure it has already started. Those credit card applications are coming in the mail and they are calling your phone. Several will say yes to the piece of plastic, igniting the consumer roller coaster. As a “grown-up” you will want to impulse buy and get those desirable items Mommy and Daddy always denied.
I could try to give you a lesson on why not to waste money, but instead I’ll list some of the things I bought from ages 17 to 22: CDs, DVDs, TVs, rims, radio sound system, FUBU, throwback jerseys and rings. Most of these items are irrelevant in 2018.
5. Trouble will reveal your real friends
Everybody is your friend in high school. Why? Because Momma and Papa are footing the bills. When you have to make the money and your peers are scraping to survive too, that is when you realize who are your real friends.
A real friend will help you save money and find ways to have affordable fun. A real friend will help your budget, not be a part of it.
Trouble will come financially. Then there are also mental, physical, spiritual and other issues that will occur. Look to see who will be in your corner during those times. A real friend will be your ride when your car breaks down, feed you when your fridge is light and tell you the hard truth when you are slipping.
4. Don’t take time off from college
Real quick: If you are thinking about taking a year off from school after graduation … don’t. Most likely you won’t go to college. You will either get lazy or addicted to the real-world paycheck. You won’t have time for being a student. If you take that year off, you’ll become every 18-year-old’s nightmare – the adult student.
3. Have the right attitude
Be willing to learn. Be humble. Be friendly. Be understanding. And make sure that is the vibe you’re giving off when you are on campus, at work, at Starbucks or on the freeway. If you walk around this world with a sense of entitlement, people will put you in check.
The best things in life are worth working for. So as you sweat, strain and hustle to the top, make sure you make more friends than enemies. And something as simple as your disposition will determine how long those two lists will be.
2. Life is about who you know
You will go to college to learn all you can as cheaply as possible. Some of that knowledge will come in handy. But to make it in life, you need to know the right people in the right places. Back in 2016, LinkedIn revealed that 85 percent of all jobs were filled via networking. So mix and mingle with the elite of your chosen path. Let your actions validate your words and give off that positive attitude. If people like you and see a benefit from having you on their team, they will keep referring you.
Don’t be in a hurry for anything … that car, degree, house, marriage or vacation. Just keep living – all those things will arrive on time. When you rush to get stuff or to get to a destination, you normally find out it was not worth it. You want things to come into your life on time so you can maximize them.
You were in a hurry to get high school over with. I can guarantee in a few years you will utter these words, “Man, I wish I was still in high school.”
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and the sports editor for Journal West 10 Media. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.