New opportunities abound for today’s graduates

I recently spoke to a group of high school graduates. When first asked, I thought to myself, what do you say to today’s grads as so much has changed from when I graduated.
I didn’t think I would get any flack, so I went with putting your priorities in order which means God first and everything else will fall into place. I still would have went with that even if I had thought there would be flack. You have to stand for something at sometime in your life and I will stand for God.
We live in such a crazy world and graduates do not have some of the same opportunities as when I was getting ready to graduate. America is still the greatest country in, the world to live in however. And while some previous opportunities do not exist any longer, new ones which we never thought about on our graduation day, do exist.
Challenges may be different but they still can be met with determination and drive. Today’s graduates need to be dedicated to excellence, integrity and a desire to make a positive impact on the world and on this journey called life.
Today’s graduate still has the chance to make the world a better place and to stop the insanity going on all around us, if they so desire.
People out in the world will come to respect you for what you know and what you know how to do. So strive to become the best at whatever you choose to do in life. And if takes you a little while to figure out what that ”something” is, that’s okay.
It has been said before and may seem quite trite but I can tell you from personal experience that if you find something to do that you love, you will never really work a day in your life. That doesn’t mean there won’t be stressful or hectic days, just that those days won’t drag you down as much otherwise.
Surround yourself with uplifting people. People who encourage you to go above and beyond but can tell you the truth when you need to hear it during those times your ego gets in the way. Don’t let toxic or negative people drag you into their drama or steal your joy. Your life will lack peace if you do.
No matter what outfit you decide to wear, always wear a smile, even on those days when you don’t feel like it. Someone out there may just need that smile on that day. Even when you feel down, wearing a smile can make things seem better. A smile costs you nothing.
People may not always remember what you say to them, but they will always, always remember how you made them feel. So be kinder than necessary to everyone you meet.
When faced with difficult situations, always choose the high road. Today there is a smudge between right and wrong and the lines get blurred way too often. Do what is right, even if it is uncomfortable.
Random acts of kindness never go out of style and there is no right or wrong time to practice them. Do so regularly and you will be better for it.
Volunteer to help in your community whether that is by joining a civic organization or helping during a clean up day or event. Attend government meetings to keep up with what’s going on and where your tax dollars are being spent.
We have been given two ears and one mouth, so be sure and listen more than you talk. Sometimes you just need to sit and be still and listen to that still, small voice.
Technology is great and has its place but don’t let it interfere with your other priorities including your family. Communication is essential in all relationships and that means one on one not through a text or on social medial. You need that personal, one on one connection. Besides new studies are starting to show that looking at your phone for so long, is not good for your eyes.
Practice your handshake and still offer it when you meet new people. Handshakes, as my father taught me, should be firm and not like a cold, dead fish. People can tell a lot about you by your handshake.
Remember that manners are still important. Please and thank you can go a long way and makes an impression. These words should be an integral part of your vocabulary on a regular basis.
Attitude is still 90 percent of everything and with the right attitude you can soar farther than you ever imagined.
Rest when you get weary. Find time to play and don’t take yourself too seriously. Someone, somewhere will always find something to criticize so learn to filter what someone else says against what you know and the Bible teaches.
Life is so very short, so always let the people in your life, know you care and love them. When you are off at college or start a new job far away from home, always call your mother.
In the end, all of this still boils down to having your priorities in order with God being first and foremost. If you do that, everything else will just be second nature. Congratulations graduates. Go out and shape the future!
VICTORIA SIMMONS is a columnist, motivational speaker/ author/ minister and publisher/gm of The Post/Byron Buzz. Reach her by email at


About vsimmons54

Veteran journalist of 40 years. Editor, Motivational Speaker, Ordained Minister, CEO of A Light in the Darkness Ministries, Copy Editor, Copywriting, Event Planner, Lensclusive Photography, Babbling Brook Consulting and Design, event planner and author. I love to write and speak and I love Jesus. I also do copy writing and editing. Recently co-authored Vanished Towns Revisited.
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