Words of Wisdom for the Class of 2014

Congratulations, graduate! You’ve received your diploma, flung that cap and shared graduation pics on all of your social networks. Now the world is yours. You’re in control. You answer to no one (until you have your first job; then you’ll answer to lots of people). So … now what?

In honor of your big accomplishment, we’ve assembled the most sage advice from our family, friends and colleagues. These are the bits of wisdom they wish somebody had shared with them — or the advice they wished they had listened to — when they were in your shoes.

  • Be humble and open to advice.
  • Ask questions and listen.
  • Always say “Thank you.”
  • Spend less than you earn.
  • When you move out, buy your own washer and dryer.
  • If you’re the smartest person in the room, find a new room.
  • It’s not who you know, it’s who you don’t forget.
  • If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
  • Don’t forget to live.
  • Take care of your car.
  • Travel. See the world while you have the time.
  • Have an end goal in mind, and make decisions based on reaching that goal. Don’t deviate for a couple cents more per hour.
  • The more successful you make others appear, the more successful you will be, as everyone will want you on his/her team.
  • Follow your passion, dream big and Never, Never, Never Give Up!
  • Figure out what you would do even if you weren’t getting paid for it, and find a way to get paid for it.
  • Don’t fear failure or rejection. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.
  • If the grass looks greener elsewhere, it may be because there’s more fertilizer.
  • Balance your work and family life. Having a good family life can help you enjoy your career, and vice versa.
  • When investing, be fearful when others are greedy; be greedy when others are fearful.
  • Push your boundaries.
  • Don’t be quick to judge. Everyone’s life is so different and you have no idea where they have been. You never know if that person will help you or soon become a friend (or boss).
  • Don’t dismiss people. Listen, learn and take away something special and different from everyone, and experience true growth in yourself.
  • Keep an open mind; never pass up an opportunity to learn.
  • New experiences can be scary yet eye-opening, and will shape you into the person that you didn’t know you could become.
  • From time to time, go outside your comfort zone and do something new and different.
  • Life is short, buy the shoes.
  • Call your mom.

Of course, you’ll forge your own path, and not every piece of advice is right for every situation (except that last one; you better do that). Good luck out there.

— P.J. Butland