My best friend’s little brother graduates this weekend.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve known Will since he was 8 years old or if it’s because he is hunting for his first job as a reporter, but I’m feeling particularly nostalgic.
Five years ago, I sat in the Bryce Jordan Center surrounded by my peers for my own graduation. After a week of farewell bar tours marking the end of our undergrad degrees, we were excited and nervous about our future.
Three months later, I got my first job at a newspaper. I packed up my hand-me-down furniture and moved to Harrisburg. I waved goodbye to my mom, dad and sister from my fourth-story window as they drove away. And I slid a dresser in front of my door for the first night I ever lived alone.
I called my dad less than 24 hours later and ask him to drive the three hours back down to my apartment when water leaked all over my living room floor from my new air conditioner. The next day, I stepped into a newsroom for the first time.
In the almost five years since, I’ve lived in four different apartments, worked at two newspapers, dyed my hair at least three different colors and nearly completed a master’s degree. I’ve watched friends get married, buy houses and have babies. I’ve watched my little sister become a smart, talented young woman. I’ve traveled. I’ve fallen in love. I’ve learned to enjoy a good glass of wine. I’ve read a lot of good books. And, perhaps most importantly, I’ve laughed — a lot.
But, to be honest, I’m not sure where the time has gone or how exactly I’ve gotten to the place I am at 26. I wish I could give Will and all the other soon-to-be college grads some sage advice, but sometimes that stuff is best left to the professionals.
In 2010, I edited a story about the Dickinson College graduation.
While I don’t remember the words of wisdom — or even the speaker — from my own college graduation, one quote from Dickinson’s commencement, courtesy of Random House Executive Editor Jon Meacham has stuck with me:
Be curious, be gracious, be hopeful. Love your neighbor. Say your prayers. Take naps outside on a weekend afternoon. Read detective novels. Subscribe to newspapers and magazines. Stand up and sing when the ‘National Anthem’ is played. Write thank-you notes on real, dead-tree paper.
Yeah, I think that about sums this whole adulthood thing up.
I’m sure he’ll do just fine. We all will.
What’s the best advice you received at your college graduation? What advice do you have for new college grads? Leave a note in the comments section.