As graduation approaches, your high school grad will be preparing for a whole new world. While they may be excited about the possibilities that lie ahead, it’s also normal for them to feel overwhelmed. After the commencement speech is over, reality hits, and it’s likely they are going to need a lot of direction in the coming months. As a parent or mentor, the best advice for the graduate is likely going to come from your own life experiences, but in case you draw a blank, here are a few pointers!
Help them make new friends with Adventure From Scratch.
Whether your graduate is moving on to college or into the workforce, their friend group is going to change substantially. Making friends as an adult, and learning to maintain adult friendships, doesn’t come easily to everyone. Give your favorite grad a leg up by gifting them Adventures From Scratch: Friends Edition for graduation! AFS is loaded with more than 50 adventures and activities specifically designed to nurture adult friendships. We even include space to document their adventures and conversation prompts to help new friends get to know each other better! It’s a pretty perfect graduation gift if we don’t say so ourselves!
The Best Advice You Can Give Your Graduate
Every graduate is different and while some will need help with making friends, others totally have the social calendar in the bag, and they need tips on saving money and managing their responsibilities. The best advice isn’t a generic quote, but a personalized recommendation based on their character. You know your grad best, and you will likely know what to say when the time comes, but here are a few of the best tidbits!
1. Assess yourself.
According to Psychology Today, one important lesson is that there is no universal solution for building a fulfilling life. It is crucial to understand your own personality, preferences, and values in order to cultivate a happy, healthy, and productive lifestyle. Knowing yourself is the first step towards making informed decisions about your career, relationships, and personal growth. Encourage your graduate to make a list of their deepest values and what they really want out of life.
2. Mistakes will happen.
Help your graduate get prepared for the truth of the real world. Mistakes happen, and they are going to choose the wrong road once or twice. They should understand that principle going into adulthood. It’s crucial not to let these mistakes consume you. Let them know that very few mistakes are without solution, and that it’s okay to experiment with what you want. When they fall, be there to pick them up and encourage them to turn the negative situation into a positive outcome. They will come out stronger and wiser on the other side.
3. Save for your future now.
Remember the excitement of getting your first job and a real paycheck? The tendency is to overindulge in buying stuff. Immature adults generally buy things they don’t need, unaware of how quickly old age is going to sneak up on them. Help your graduate see into the future a bit, and suggest that they open an investment account. We, as a society, do a terrible job of teaching financial responsibility. Suggest that your graduate begin speaking with a financial advisor as soon as they snag that first real paycheck to help them create a well-rounded portfolio and secure their future personal finances.
4. Don’t be consumed by stuff.
The notion of “less is more” is a philosophy that we all should probably contemplate more often. Learning to put your money where your true passions are, makes for a much happier existence for most people than piles of material goods. Everyone loves nice things, but young people can overdo it and neglect responsibilities as they are not great at money management yet. Let them know there is nothing wrong with nice things, but it’s important to be mindful of your possessions and make sure they don’t dominate your life.
Writers note: When my wife and I decided to travel full-time, we downsized our possessions significantly. This experience helped me realize the truth behind the concept that less really is more. We had accumulated so much unnecessary clutter that served no purpose in our lives, and we don’t miss it.
5. Keep connected.
As people transition to college or pursue their careers, they may find themselves separated from their high school friends and family. Maintaining strong relationships with others is essential to happiness. This can be achieved by attending events such as reunions and weddings, remembering birthdays, and conversing with friends through group text chats or video calls. Scheduling yearly dates or creating regular traditions with your family members can help prevent fallout as well. Warn your graduate how quickly and easily old relationships can falter if they aren’t nurtured, and help them put some preliminary statutes in place to prevent it.
Check out our “15 Ways To Reconnect With Old Friends” for some great ideas on how to rekindle lost relationships.
6. Make new friends.
Transitioning to the real world can be a daunting and isolating experience, which is why it’s crucial to cultivate friend-making skills. The hardest part is getting out of your comfort zone and striking up conversations with new people. Encourage your graduate to join social media groups for their hobbies. We all know that after high school is when most people truly find themselves and their people. Encourage them to test out new social groups, try new hobbies, and attend every social gathering they can until they find their spot. Branch out, so to speak.
If you don’t know where or how to start, take a look at “How To Make Friends As An Adult (And Why You Should!)”
7. Learn patience.
It can be difficult to cultivate patience in a fast-paced, instant-gratification culture. Whether it’s dealing with a difficult coworker, navigating a complicated project, or waiting for the results of our efforts to bear fruit, life takes lots of patience. Prepare your graduate for a long road, reassuring them that all the best things in life take some time to accomplish.
8. Respect everyone.
Respect is a fundamental aspect of human interaction that can bring about positive change, not just in yourself, but in a community as a whole. In a professional setting, showing respect to superiors can lead to career advancement and growth as well. Treating others with kindness, empathy, and dignity takes practice and diligent effort. Liking someone and respecting them as a human being are different concepts, and it’s important that you prepare your graduate to approach all humanity as equal and worthy of respect.
9. Never stop learning.
Learning new skills has never been easier. You can literally learn anything on YouTube. As graduates step out on their own, they usually find out very quickly how inept they are at huge chunks of life. Some of the best advice for graduates is to learn to be a problem solver and have the confidence to try something new, even if you fail. Never stop learning. There’s always something new to tackle!
10. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Comparing yourself to others is a natural tendency, but it’s important to be mindful of how it affects you. While it may provide motivation to work harder, it can also lead to negative emotions like jealousy and stress. Everyone has their own journey and timeline, but it’s hard to see that when you are young. Remind your graduate not to compare their beginning to someone else’s middle or end, but instead to pay attention to their own progress and growth, and appreciate the small wins along the way. It’s important to set realistic goals and celebrate achievements, no matter how small they may seem.
11. Stay positive.
Having a positive outlook can be a powerful tool in overcoming challenges and achieving success. Research from the Mayo Clinic shows that positive thinking may lead to increased health benefits as well, including longer life spans and improved immunity. Laughter and gratefulness have been shown to reduce stress, which wreaks havoc on the body. Plus, everyone loves to be around a positive and encouraging person. Inspire your graduate to be that kind of friend. It will serve them well.
12. Take care of your health.
According to Psychology Today, throughout their numerous interviews with successful and creative individuals regarding happiness and habit, one recurring theme is the significance of maintaining a regular exercise routine, coupled with adequate sleep. Many of these individuals also express regret for not adopting these habits earlier. Feeling fatigued or sluggish makes it challenging to be productive and content. By learning to prioritize exercise and sleep early, your grad will be ahead of the game!
13. Help others.
Helping others can bring immense joy and fulfillment into our lives. Whether it’s volunteering at a local charity or simply lending an ear to someone in need, we can make a positive impact on those around us. In a generation of self-absorption, help your graduate stand out by encouraging them to view others as important, alongside themselves.
14. Learn a side hustle.
It seems everyone has a side hustle these days! With so many ways to bring in some extra cash, especially with passive income, it seems a shame to put all your eggs in one basket. While it’s important to choose a full-time job that fits your interests and your talents, side hustles are all about passion. Whether it’s through being a blogger, selling things on Amazon, or turning an artistic talent into a side business, there are endless possibilities to supplement income! Whatever it is they are passionate about, encourage them to find a way to make money at it. It never hurts to have a little extra in this economy.
15. Explore various career paths.
Too many college students get pushed into a major too early. Most 18-year-olds don’t know what they want to do for the rest of their life (I’m 40, and I still don’t know). The best career advice you can give is to encourage them to explore the different options available to them and take courses from multiple majors until they find one that fits.
If your grad is not going to college, suggest they take a year off to travel and explore the world, if possible. If not, encourage them to branch out in their job search. Attend job fairs. They are invaluable for helping young people find the perfect job and expanding their knowledge of what’s out there. They could also sign up for short internships, or work a couple of part-time jobs and see what they like best.
16. Create a budget.
A proper budget is a powerful tool that far too many people do not take advantage of. Implementing a budget early on establishes healthy financial habits and curbs spending. It equips you with the necessary padding to adapt to changes in your financial situation, such as starting a new job, buying a house for the first time, or starting a family. By taking control of their finances, they can make informed decisions and work towards their goals with confidence. There are tons of great budget apps out there. Perhaps, suggest one and help them set it up, or show them how you handle your personal budget.
17. Expand your library.
Remember that whole life-long learning thing? It generally requires at least some reading. Suggest a few books on money management, time management, starting a business, etc. Recommend your favorite author, or give them a copy of the most useful book you’ve ever read.
18. Live your own life.
“The American Dream” has planted the idea in our heads that all have to follow this pre-cut path… a family, a house, a typical 9—5 job, and so on. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this lifestyle, it may not be suitable for everyone. If your graduate is a bit unorthodox, encourage them to follow their own path!
Writers note: I’ve discovered that there are countless ways to live a productive life. I started my career as a school teacher, but then left it behind to travel the world and work as a digital nomad. You can experience so much more if you are willing to explore possibilities beyond the norm. My previous life was fine, but traveling and stepping out of my comfort zone have taught me that life has so much to offer, and happiness can be achieved through various means.
19. Live in the now.
“First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now I am dying, and suddenly I realize I forgot to live.” – Anonymous
It’s effortless to allow life to slip by unnoticed. Without realizing it, years (or even decades) can pass us by. It’s crucial to be present in the moment, and enjoy the current stage of your life. Insist that your graduate slow down and enjoy this season of life, not putting too much pressure on themselves to achieve.
20. Believe in yourself.
Although it may sound cliché, self-belief is critical as they embark on this new chapter of their life. They are sure to encounter odd experiences, meet difficult individuals, and have some tough moments in the near future. However, having faith in themselves can help them power through difficult times. Becoming more self-assured is a challenge, and your young adult might need a little help. Start with a list of all their incredible characteristics and point out a few ways those traits will help them succeed!
Ready to talk?
Providing words of encouragement and guidance to a new high school or college graduate can be a challenging task. However, it is essential to convey a message that instills confidence, promotes self-discovery, and sets realistic expectations for the future. Recognizing their accomplishments and the hard work that led to their graduation is an excellent way to start! Did you find the advice for the graduate in your life that you were seeking? Let us know which piece of advice was most helpful in the comments. If you have more incredible advice, drop that in the comments too!
If you need ideas on the best graduation gifts look at our “40 Practical and Perfect High School Graduation Gifts for Him” and “32 Sweet and Sensible High School Graduation Gifts for Her”.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best advice for a graduate is to do an assessment of your values and the things you truly enjoy. Then, pursue a life and career that line up with those values!
Grads should know that all their relationships are about to change. Making new adult friends and keeping old connections is hard. Help them out by gifting them Adventures From Scratch: Friends Edition!
Some of the best advice for graduates is to respect others whether you like them or not, get early guidance on financial planning, and learn how to foster adult friendships.
It’s easy to get lost after graduation and not know what to do next. To motivate a graduate, encourage them to make a list of their passions and suggest a few paths that align with their passions.
Encouraging your graduate to believe in themselves is key to becoming successful. Start with pointing out their good characteristics and a few ways those traits will help them succeed.