Graduation 2024: Here Are 24 Bold Ideas for the Brave New World Ahead


Congrats, Class of 2024! You’ve persevered through a global pandemic, political upheaval, and economic inflation. As you embark on adulthood or college, here are 24 nuggets of wisdom to guide you on your journey.

Slow Down

Adulthood doesn’t mandate a hectic lifestyle. Embrace the tranquility of slowing down. You don’t have to run at full speed all the time or attend every event. Personal growth, character, and mental health are forged in quiet moments of downtime and reflection. Make sure your life has margin for those.

Enjoy The Journey

First it was “when I can read,” then “when I can drive” or “when I can date.” Next, “when I graduate” or “when I get a job.” After that, “when I get married,” “when I have kids,” “when the kids grow up,” and “when I retire.” There will always be a next stage of life to look forward to, but don’t forget to enjoy the present. Life is a collection of precious moments – pay attention to them, as each one will become a cherished memory.

Laugh. A Lot.

If you’re going to laugh about something eventually, start laughing about it now. Laughter truly is the best medicine. If you can laugh about it, you can overcome it. Humor eases pain, declaws hostility, and brings light to dark days.

Seek Wisdom

Identify a few older people you admire. Observe their conflict resolution, interactions, and resilience. Consult their hard-earned wisdom when in doubt. Generational differences pale in comparison to our shared humanity. Don’t shun the insights of those who came before you.

Say “I Don’t Know”

Admitting you don’t have all the answers is a mark of maturity. Normalize not having an opinion on everything or a response to every question. Uncertainty doesn’t make you weak; it shows you are honest, genuine and approachable.

Friends Will Come and Go

The people you count as close friends today may play a small or insignificant role in your future. It’s part of growing up. You’ll make new friends, lose touch with old ones, and enter new life stages. A few really close friendships may withstand the test of time, but most will be beautiful yet fleeting, like waves in the ocean. Enjoy each friendship while it lasts.

Question Authority

You’ve spent 18 years obeying parents and teachers. As an adult, while authorities still exist, it’s acceptable to respectfully question them, especially when they act unjustly. The most successful minds ask “Why do we do this?” and “Is there a better way?”

Never Stop Learning

Your diploma doesn’t mean you’re done learning – far from it. Life has many more lessons to teach you through others, circumstances, discovery, and failure. No one alive is a finished product. Stay open to growth.

Be Careful With Information

Information is key to learning but can also deceive. Check your sources; there are authoritative outlets and poor ones that spread misinformation to push agendas. Verify accuracy. Remember, “I saw it on TikTok” carries far less weight than “According to The Washington Post.”

Avoid Extremes

You’re graduating in a time of social and political polarization. The loudest voices are often the most extreme. As tempting as it may be to get pulled too far left or right, the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

Pick Your Battles

Have conviction on issues that matter most to you. But not every issue should raise your passion. Save anger and argument for when it’s truly important. Otherwise, like the boy who cried wolf, people won’t take your outrage seriously.

Learn Nuance

The problems you see have been simmering for years. Long-standing issues may be more complex than they appear. Try to understand the nuances before speaking with authority. Perspective isn’t always about right and wrong; background, experience and psychology shape it too.

Two Things Can Be Right at the Same Time

It’s possible for people to draw opposite conclusions and both be right to an extent. We’re used to binary thinking – right/wrong, black/white, yes/no. But often there are multiple valid considerations beyond just two sides.

Treat Others With Dignity

We all have inherent dignity. Even if you disagree with someone, treat them humanely. Stripping others of their humanity, even just mentally, erodes your own.

Be Confident

How you come across can matter more than what you know. People believe a confident person over a wise but insecure one. Believe in yourself – it shapes who you are, who you attract, and who you become.

But Don’t Be Too Sure of Yourself

Confidence only works if you can back it up. Over-confidence leads to missteps. Ask for honest feedback on your abilities so you know your true capabilities. You can’t perform like Mozart without a single lesson.

Don’t Let Others Define You

You may still be discovering who you are. Regardless, don’t let others’ opinions determine your self-worth or life path. Living to someone else’s specifications would be a shame. Be wary of following the herd – they’re just as lost.

Do The Thing You Want to Do

If you have an idea, see it through. If you dream of starting a venture, spend time on that. You can work to make money for someone else or do what you love working for yourself. Don’t be afraid to lead. And be patient – most entrepreneurs launch in their 40s. You have time.

Tell Other People What They Mean To You

Emotions and sentimentality aren’t “cringe.” Life is both too short and too long to hide your feelings from the people you care about. If you miss someone, tell them you miss them. If you love someone, tell them you love them. If you count someone as one of your closest friends, make sure they know that. Make sure your loved ones know how you feel about them. In times like this, there isn’t much room for waiting.

Mistakes Are How You Learn

It’s easy to be afraid of failure, but the sooner you learn to embrace it and learn from it, the better off you’ll be. You will learn more lessons from a single mistake than from a dozen triumphs. Your mistakes sharpen your skills and shape your character. They are a necessary part of the person you become and in the long run, you will be thankful for the opportunity to fail.

Don’t Label Others

People don’t fit into neat boxes. Extend grace, avoid judgment, and respect differences. Despite what you may believe, main character, supporting character and NPCs aren’t how life works. People are three-dimensional and every person has something to contribute. People are more than your perceptions of them just like you are more than other people’s perceptions of you.

Prioritize Life Over Work

Your job is a means to enjoy what you value. It is not what you should value most. In America we tend to treat work and productivity as gods. The problem with that is, families grow apart, children go up not knowing their parents, and people struggle with identity because who they are is tied into what they do to earn money.

Learn Your Rhythm

Some of us are morning people, some of us are night owls. Realize who you are and where your pain points are and own those. If you are cranky in the morning and can’t talk to people until you’ve had coffee, try not to engage with things or people that frustrate you. The same goes for if you get hangry around lunch time. Often the problems we have with others are because of how we perceive them in weak moments.

Unplug and Listen

If you want to know someone, put down your device and really listen to them. People are dying for connection and constant notifications and distractions keep us from connection. Yes, you can multitask, but that doesn’t mean you should always be multi-tasking. That is called stress and it is the polar opposite of connection.

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