Summit Daily letters: Message to college graduates |

Summit Daily letters: Message to college graduates

Message to college graduates

Congratulations, college graduate! What an exciting moment in time as you experience the independence you’ve been chasing since high school. So much awaits you at 20-something as you start this next chapter of your life journey. It’s been 37 years since I received my undergraduate degree and started my first job, making an annual salary of $15,800, a teaching position that I lost after one year! I’m on a great journey, with the accomplishments and joy (family, compensation, adventures) far outweighing the disappointments and losses. If you and I were sharing a beer, this is what I’d tell you, and I’d just be getting started!

You are an accomplished college graduate with unlimited opportunities, because of your personal perseverance, not due to some entitlement. You will find a good job because you’re fortunate enough to be graduating when unemployment is at historically low rates (lowest since 1969!). Remember that when you vote in 2020. Embrace your starter job, starter salary, car, even a starter relationship. Be patient. If you truly pursue the happiness that our founders envisioned, your 30-something self will be substantially better off, and your 50-year-old self will be phenomenally more successful and happier than you are right now. Don’t expect a linear progression, but the detours will make you a better spouse, parent and co-worker if you pay attention and learn from them.

Engage with others. Build relationships with co-workers, other professionals in your field and neighbors in your community. Volunteer because you want to, not because you have to. You’ll build connections, skills and experiences that will continue to shape your future and help you when/if you do make a job change. Never forget that your job is expendable. Prepare for that possibility by building a savings and making connections with others.

Pay attention, be informed. Seek accurate information and apply the critical thinking skills of comprehension, analysis and synthesis that you built in college to make informed judgments. Accept that you have biases and challenge yourself to avoid the trap of “group think,” letting others dictate what you think about an issue. Our nation IS great and your opportunities are endless if you choose to pursue them. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. YOU create your destiny.

Be a responsible citizen in your workplace and community. Stay late. Come in early. Lend a helping hand, your money and your time. Keep on learning and enjoy the journey. The best is yet to come!

Garnett Payne


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