Open Letter to College Graduates

Dear Graduate,

Congratulations and welcome to the workforce!  I see all of you bright young adults graduating and you have your entire life (and career) in front of you.  So many opportunities and challenges await you and your brand-new degree.  All of those years of schooling and you are ready to take on the world.

I am kind of envious of you, but I can’t help but think if I knew then what I know now, I could have achieved so much more.  With that thought in mind I offer these tips for you, new graduate, that have helped me achieve success.  Some I had to learn the hard way.

1. Your new degree is not a certificate of qualification.

Rather it is a license to learn.  Sure, your future employer expects that you have some skills based on your schooling, but that is only the start.  What your diploma really proves, is that you know how to learn.  If you want lasting success, become a lifelong learner.  More from Walden University.

2. Life is not fair.

Failures will happen, sometimes even to no fault of your own.  You cannot control that, but you can control how you respond to it.  You can obsess over the inequities in the world, or you pick yourself up and “keep moving forward”.  Admiral William H. McRaven talks about this in his 2014 commencement speech.

3. Do what you love, or at least what you like.

You are likely to spend half of your waking life at work.  Anastasia Massouras explains it’s actually 100,000 hours.  If you hate what you do, you will be miserable and make those around you miserable.  Do yourself, your family and even your employer a favor and find something that you enjoy.

4. Whatever you do, do it with excellence.

Even if the task seems menial, like mopping the floor.  Do it to the best of your ability.  If it seems below you, still do it with pride and do it right.  If you can’t perform a simple task well, why would someone trust you with an important task?  Whenever you commit to doing anything, do it well and opportunities will follow.  Fairygodboss explains this well.

I know it has been a long road to get to this point, but your journey has just begun.  I hope you find the path that makes you both happy and prosperous.  Congratulations and the best of luck.


Gene Hankey

College Grad Beginning Journey

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