A Word of Advice for the High School Graduate

By: The Farmers Bank

Congratulations! You are now a high school graduate! Take the summer off. Let your brain rest (sleep late every day). Spend unproductive time with your friends. It’s a new day, a new adventure and you are in charge of your destiny!!! Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, maybe, but what about your new life? Time-wise, going from high school to college may only span a few months but “BREAKING NEWS!” – THE WORLD STARTS EXPECTING YOU TO BE MORE ADULT AND LESS KID! Ouch!!!

Welcome to “adult life”! As you enter college it is not always about writing papers, memorizing facts and making deadlines. It’s about all the extras that make you who you will be and if you will be successful. Here are a few tips from Ted Spiker, Chair of the Dept. of Journalism at the University of Florida:

Your brain is not your day planner.

Learn to prioritize. This skill helps you know what is coming in 10 minutes, tomorrow, next week, and next month, #ohwaitthatpaperisduetoday!!! Students get in academic trouble when they panic and they panic when they are not prepared.

To get plugged in, unplug.

Put down the phone (WHAT!!!). Look up, raise your hand, speak, ask, and listen.

Ideas are your valuable currency.

Lots of your peers have the same skills as you do. The question is: Who has the better ideas? The front end of a project (developing an original idea) is as crucial as the back end (time spent executing it). Be creative, think ahead.

The Syllabus is the law.

Assume that every professor you have believes in everything written in the class syllabus. Read the contract!

Handwrite thank you notes.

I know in this day of emails and “likes”, it hurts the brain to think about having to stop and handwrite a note (so old-school) but old-school notes and letters show that you care enough to do a little extra. It’s a tangible way to explain your intangibles. (Show your mother this one, she will love it!)

Think of college as seven years.

Networking opportunities are so important. Network with people in your freshman class and with students that are three years ahead of you. As a senior, build relationships with the people three years behind you. That’s seven years of people who could be potential bosses and connections.

It is perfectly okay to say “no”.

High achievers want to do it all. Don’t! It is better to do 15 things well than 50 things sloppily.

Find a workout pal.

Part of stress management is time management. You have to have enough energy to do quality work. You need good food, regular exercise and lots of sleep. This non-academic priority will improve your academic ones.

Style and substance.

Develop your skills and talents. How unique is your personality, your creativity, your voice when it comes to your skill set? Lots of people have a lot of talent, so developing your skills and talents can be the difference in being hired and having your resume tossed.


Do it when you are not working or studying and do it when you are.

When you graduate from college, will you have the skills that everybody else in the room has and will you be able to do something that nobody else can do? If the answer is “yes” to both these questions, then you have discovered the secret to excelling!

Good luck to you from The Farmers Bank as you start your adventure.

Related post