May 19: Kenai Peninsula Clarion with advice for graduates

Posted: Monday, May 22, 2000

Some members of the graduating class of 2000 may not want to hear this, but their school days are far from over.

At least, that's the case if the graduates are interested in reaching ever-greener pastures.

If the research is true, today's high school graduates are going to change careers five to seven times during their working lives. That's careers, not jobs.

Today's technology means ever faster changes in the workplace. Successful workers will need to constantly retool themselves to fit those changes.

Many of the jobs that graduates train for today will have a completely different form 10 to 20 years from now, if they exist at all. And jobs that cannot be imagined today will beckon the children of today's grads.

All of which means success in today's -- and tomorrow's -- workplace awaits those who become lifelong learners.

While that learning doesn't necessarily have to take place in a school setting, it's essential that it take place if people don't want to find themselves obsolete in the job marketplace.

The more prepared and adaptable today's graduates are, the more options and opportunities they'll find.

As graduates enter a new season and setting for their learning, they'll find some old lessons still apply. A few:

--The world may be more wired than ever before, but people are more disconnected from each other than they have been in previous generations. never underestimate the value of human contact.

--Lucky is the person whose avocation and vocation are one and the same. Follow your passion, even if it doesn't pay as well.

--If you're not graduating as valedictorian, it may have occurred to you that you could have with just a little more effort. The lesson? Always do your best.

--On the other hand, if you spent all you high school or college days with your nose in the books, it may have occurred to you that you missed out on some rewarding friendships and good times. Too much of anything is rarely good. Make ''balance'' your watchword.

--The competition for your hard-earned dollars is intense, but most of the ''stuff'' money can buy you don't really need. Include sharing and saving in your money management plan.

--Technology may have made the world smaller, but it's still an incredibly fascinating place. Become an explorer -- even if it's in your own back yard.

--Everything is faster today than it used to be. Lots of people spend their life rushing from one thing to the next. At least once a week, slow down and treat yourself to a walk.

--No one person can possibly know it all. Seek advice from those you admire and trust.

While it's important to reach ever higher, it's also important to take time to acknowledge what you've accomplished. That's what graduation ceremonies are all about.

So, to the class of 2000 (and their families), congratulations. Bask in this milestone's moment. But don't get too comfortable. Colleges -- and other learning opportunities -- are beckoning, and there will be bills to pay. --

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