Top 11 Advice for High School Graduates

Advice for High School GraduatesMost parents believe graduation is their last opportunity to impart good advice or words of wisdom to their graduate. This is the list I made for my daughter when she graduated based on what I believe leads to a happy life.

Take some time after your child’s graduation to discuss the important stuff. Talk over this list and add ones that are relevant to your family. You might be surprised that “Solve world hunger” ranks higher on their list than “Play more video games.”

Advice for High School Graduates

  1. Say thank you to waiters, waitresses, housekeepers, and hostesses. Always tip in cash at least 17%. Their job is demanding. You never know, that could be you.
  2. Laughter is the best medicine. Laugh out loud. Laugh often.
  3. Take lots of pictures and get them developed. You will never regret this. People love looking at photo albums. “A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lives on forever.” Unknown
  4. Eat healthy food and exercise. That’s all you will ever need to know about staying fit.
  5. Never text and drive. “It takes an average of 4.6 seconds to receive or send a text message. If you’re driving 55 miles per hour, you’ll cover 100 yards in that time span.” – David Mills on Pleasanton Patch
  6. Don’t put anything on Facebook, Twitter, email or any social media that you wouldn’t want your grandma to read. “Don’t air your dirty laundry.” – Grandma Judy
  7. Embrace failure. We learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Thomas Edison failed 111,009 times making the light bulb. Kathryn Stockett received 60 rejections for The Help.
  8. Being lucky is hard work. Oprah Winfrey said, “I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” Go the extra mile. Reach for the stars. Don’t be satisfied with good enough. Look outside the box. Be a rule breaker.
  9. Open a bank account. Save money. The sooner you start, the better off you will be. Don’t get a credit card unless you can pay back in full each month.
  10. Ask questions. What’s the worst that could happen? “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” — Chinese Proverb
  11. Do not serve brussel sprouts to company. Everybody hates them.

Just think graduates; only eleven pointers and you’re on your way to live a life filled with great adventure and new beginnings. And in four more years, your parents will seem smarter than you thought. Don’t forget that no matter how much things may change, your values will always define you.

33 Things High School Seniors Wish They Knew As Freshmen

Do you have any advice to offer a high school graduate? 


About staceygustafson


  1. Great advice Stacey. I love # 8. Thanks for sharing!

    • staceygustafson says

      If I included too many, it’s just nagging. My mental list goes on and on. But most high schoolers prefer to learn the hard way!

  2. How about “wear a belt.” It was cute when your undies had Pokemon pictures on them, but once you’re done with High School, NO ONE wants (or needs to) see them.

    Wash you sheets…at LEAST twice a month. (I’m being very lenient here.) I’m not asking what’s going on in that bed of yours–it will be between you and the washing machine.

    • staceygustafson says

      12. Pull up your pants. You just look stupid.
      13. Get your face out of the iPhone. You’re missing life.
      My original list has #200 points.

  3. These are good, Stacey. I especially like the one about being a good tipper. I’d add in that you should never date a stingy tipper. How a person treats the wait-staff is often how they’ll end up treating you.

    I agree about the brussel sprouts. They are almost always yukky.

  4. Follow your heart, unless it leads you towards something dangerous or illegal. Just a thought. Live in the present, but plan for the future.
    And best of all, from my wonderful husby who is living proof of this, “You don’t lose until you quit trying.
    Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers (and characters and everyone else)

  5. Great list! Except for the brussel sprouts. I love them. Why are people always hacking on that delicious vegetable?!

  6. Great list. I would add be true to yourself. Just because everyone is doing or going or participating does not mean it is OK for you if it doesn’t feel right.

  7. Excellent! My favourite? #7. From the ashes of disaster . . .

  8. Gerald Kovac says

    I particularly like number 1 on your list. Remembering the forgotten ones who serve us is really “reflecting the heart of God”. Seeing and recognizing people who are often “invisible” as we go about our lives.

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