Real Graduation Advice From Mom

Dear My High School Graduate,Real Graduation Advice from Mom Stacey Gustafson

Congratulations! Today you have achieved a major milestone, graduation from high school. You’re moving onto a new chapter in your life, one filled with great adventure and the unknown. At times you may be scared and question all that you know as fair and just. You have a right to be afraid. Your parents sheltered you too long.

As you begin this new chapter I have some advice for you, most of it is common sense. Remember all the times I told you to pay attention and you ignored me? For your sake, I made a list to refresh your memory.

Graduation Advice – Don’t Be a Slob

Pick up after yourself and return things to the place that you found them. When you leave this house, maid service ends. From now on, unless you are staying at a hotel, the crap you put on the ground stays there. Forever. Or until you get around to picking it up. Don’t be the slob roommate in college. Represent yourself in the best light possible. We taught you way better than that. You only have one chance at a first impression.

Don’t buy cheap toilet paper. It never pays off. Some things can be purchased at discount prices but never skimp on toilet paper. End of story.

Graduation Advice – Treat Others with Kindness

Treat your sibling with kindness; they are your closest blood relative. You will need each other one day. It’s important to maintain a relationship with siblings. That means treat each other with respect and love. When you throw off-handed comments, or insults, it can leave deep wounds. Love one another. When your father and I are older, you will need a shoulder to lean on. I am an only child and wish I had someone to turn to when dealing with my parents as they grow older.

Graduation Advice – Be Careful Using Social Media

Never put anything on Facebook, Twitter, email or any social media that you wouldn’t want your grandma to read. I know it is easy to get caught telling the world about your latest achievement, biggest failure, and the type of sandwich you ate for lunch. Keep in mind, the pictures you post now may seem cool, like one of you after too much alcohol or freak dancing, but will come back to haunt you later, I promise. One day you will interview for a job, God willing, and a potential employer may come across that picture. The job you thought was yours will go down the drain. Don’t do anything that can limit your potential.

Put your hair up in a ponytail when preparing food. People don’t want to eat a hairball. Take it from me, this advice in invaluable.

Graduation Advice: Use Sunscreen

Use moisturizer with sunscreen on your face everyday. I can attest to the importance of properly treating your skin. Growing up in the 70s, sunscreen came in two types, SPF 2 and baby oil with iodine. Both of these were horrible for you. But as a kid, I didn’t know any better. Around 20, my mother got diagnosed with skin cancer and that was my wake up call. From then on, I avoided the sun with a hat and layers of sunscreen. When I go back to my high school reunion, it’s like revenge of the tan and wrinkly instead of the bronze and beautiful. Learn from my mistake and cover up. Avoid the sun.

Treat others as you would like to be treated. Never act a snob. Don’t con yourself into believing you are better than someone else. Remember that waitresses at Chili’s? You never know, that could be you.

Graduation Advice – A Sincere Apology Matters

Make a sincere apology. A bad apology is worse than no apology. Forget about lame apologies like, “I’m sorry you’re mad.” That’s the worst one I’ve ever heard. You’re sorry that they are mad? As if you had no accountability? I learned from Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, a proper apology has three parts. First, admit that what you did was wrong and say, “I’m sorry.” Then let people know that you feel badly that you hurt them. Next, ask how you can make them feel better. You will keep friends for life this way.

Give your friends and family the attention they deserve. Do not use your cell phone or any other electronic device when others are speaking. Their time is valuable too. You show disrespect when you stick a cell phone in front of your face when others are talking.

Graduation Advice – Pick A Mate Wisely

Pick the same qualities in a date as you would a future mate. Listen to your gut. If that guy/gal on the dorm floor is always in a bad mood, don’t think that you can change them. Find someone you can talk to and one that makes you laugh. A sense of humor will conquer many obstacles because life is too long not to be happy. When you think you met the person of your dreams, pick carefully and treat kindly. Take your time.

Lastly, remember that nothing is free in life but your parent’s love. And never let anyone rain on your parade!

I love you, Mom

10 Things I Want to Say To My Son Before He Graduates 

When Church People Knock Stacey GustafsonLooking for a good read?
Are You Kidding Me?: My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives is available on Amazon and eBooks. It’s filled with stories about crazy families, holiday chaos, school disasters and more. Hoping to make you laugh one story at a time. Get your copy now!! Click to purchase on Amazon.

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  1. Love it (and I am a *huge* fan of The Last Lecture — I’m glad you included it).

  2. Outstanding advice, Stacey! I’d add one more: “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.”

  3. Good advice Stacey, both practical and thoughtful!

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