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Advice for the Class of 2014

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Dear Class of 2014, You made it! Congratulations! But, now the real work begins. 

When we told you that “these are the best days of your life” you will soon realize that we weren’t kidding.

Graduation is a starting gate, not a finish line.

Now that you have graduated, you are expected to go out and get a job. The first job you get may not be your ideal job, but no one says you have to stay there forever. My first job was in the middle of nowhere at a small radio station. I was reading farm reports and funeral announcements, NOT playing the rock and roll music I loved. I made a wage that was below the poverty line, I regularly used the food shelf, and I hated my life. I was young, I was new, I was “from the big city” and I was definitely an outsider and everyone made sure I knew it. Thankfully, headphones can drown out the noise of people you don’t like.

The second job you get may not be your ideal job, either, but while you don’t have to stay there forever, it’s important to stay there and pay your dues. My second job was at another small radio station, in a little bigger town, a little more money and a little closer to home. I was not playing the rock and roll music that I loved, but rather, playing country music which I quickly grew to enjoy, and later began to love. I formed relationships with coworkers, did whatever they needed me to do, asked questions, came in early, stayed late, did whatever extra stuff there was to do and I ended up staying there for four years. I still talk to people I worked with there and I haven’t worked there in 12 years.

The economy isn’t like it was “back then”, so you may bounce around a bit, but just remember that no job is beneath you. If you don’t want to end up living back with your mom and dad, just take a job. Sure, you may be under employed and it may not be in your career field, but working as an assistant manager at a restaurant or a retailer will at least keep the lights on, and if one job won’t do it, work two. Being underemployed is better than being unemployed.

Don’t be afraid of hard work, don’t be afraid to tell yourself no, don’t spend all of your money, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, don’t be afraid to say you’re sorry, don’t be afraid to go back to school to better yourself, don’t keep your nose buried in your phone and whatever you do, don’t look back and say, “I wish I would have ________.”

Now go, be fruitful members of society. The future of our country depends on you.

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