Robert Fulghum hit it right on the head when he wrote All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Although I'm a junior and will return in the fall for one more round with IU, so many of my best friends are graduating this weekend. But before they get shoved into the real world and leave the bubble of Bloomington, I hope they remember the lessons we learned on the playground. The next few months and years are going to be scary: you might feel like you're drowning sometimes and just when you think you have your head above water, you'll realize you're in the wrong pool. Remember Fulgum's kindergarten lessons:
We're not in the sandbox anymore. You won't always get punished for breaking the rules, but follow them anyway. Do what's right when it's hard and most importantly, be honest with yourself and others.
"Clean Up Your Own Mess"
Even if you play by the rules and try your hardest, you will mess up. Accept it. Don't rely on others to fix what you broke and don't ignore a problem until it's unfixable. It might be hard, but there's no use crying over spilled milk and not dealing with it.
"Say You're Sorry When You Hurt Someone"
People are going to hurt you, and you're going to hurt people. Swallow your pride and apologize. Always be the first to approach the issue and be honest. If you didn't mean to hurt someone, look at the situation from their point of view. If you meant to hurt them out of pride, shame on you. Apologize, learn why you did it, and don't do it again.
"Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that."
Chances are, you are about to graduate and live somewhere where no one knows you from Adam. Remember where you came from. It's grounding to have people in your life who saw you as a five-year-old tree-climbing dork. Rely on those people who have stood the test of time because they'll be there when you wither. Because sometimes you will wither.
"Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint some and sing and dance and play and work every day some."
Don't seek true success in your first year and don't expect to peak professionally in your twenties. Take time out of the office to learn about yourself and what you want out of life. Yes, it's important to have a fulfilling career, but also surround yourself with people who care. Relationships matter. Friends and family are worth fighting for.
"And it's still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together."