Dear Class of 2010,
If I could tell you one thing, one thing I want you to remember as you leave the halls of this familiar place, and you begin to plant your roots in new soil, I want you to remember that everything matters. Did you hear me? Everything. I mean it- EVERYTHING, matters. This fact is something that I wish I had understood when I was sitting in your seat.
The way you treat people, the quality of work that you complete, the way you love people, the way you handle stress, the way you handle bad news and bad days. It all matters. In college, the classes that you sign up for, the people you choose to date, the way you treat your professors and classmates, the clubs you join, the sororities and fraternities you align yourself with- it matters. Every decision that you make in your life works together to help build your reputation in the world.
When you leave this place today, you will no longer be a high-school student. You will be an adult, a member of society, and soon, a member of a college class or a company. You get the chance from today forward to decide who you want to be and how you want to be known and remembered.
People do not forget the way you treat them. There are no times that “count” and times that “don’t count.” Missing deadlines, skipping classes, disappointing people, hurting people, lying, all of these things will be with you from today forward.
And likewise, loving people well, supporting your friends/coworkers/classmates, delivering on things you promise, respecting people, and being an all around dependable person will be with you from today forward.
Build for yourselves this kind of reputation. Stay up until 2am consoling your brokenhearted roommate this year. Go the extra mile on the group report, instead of trying to skim by on the least amount of effort. Admit your mistakes and immediately work to correct them. Stand by your word, even when it isn’t convenient.
I promise you, these things will not go unnoticed. And someday soon, when you need a favor, a job recommendation, or a helping hand- there will be a long line of people waiting to help you, excited to return the love and support you have shown them.
If Matt is my big brother, Erin I consider Erin my big sister. Whenever there’s a big life decision I have to make, or something’s been bothering me, Erin is the first person I call. She’s the first person there when somethings wrong and she always looks out for me.
Funny story about that…On the Boy and I’s first date…for some reason I thought it would be good to subject him to my closest friends at a birthday party of someone he’d never met. What was I thinking. But I knew Erin was there and I knew the Boy would like her. And apparently she liked him too because she proceeded to tell him that I was a…wait, let’s get the words right…”a stone cold b!tch.” I think the Boy was scared but we both laughed and I almost spit out my drink. Much like me, sometimes Erin can have the tendency to scare people when she first meets them (hence the name). We joke that it weeds out the bad people because once you know her, you know you have a friend for life. And good news is, the Boy made the cut because he’s still around 🙂
We are different in so many ways and yet I am convinced that we are cut from different sides of the same cloth. Her advice is always honest and that is why I wanted her to be a part of this series. She’ll always tell you what she thinks and it’s always with your best interests in mind. She is the most encouraging yet blunt person I know. Which I appreciate more than she knows.
Erin is about to graduate from Vanderbilt with her MBA and these lessons she’s talked about here are the same as the advice she told me about grad school. EVERYTHING MATTERS. True in college, grad school, jobs and life.
Erin grew up in Seminole, Florida but now resides in the Ville. To see what Erin’s up to, hear about life after grad school, music, her amazing travels, or just to see what she what Erin thinks (which I promise you is worth it) you can follow her at @erinolivia.
About this series: This is one of a series of guest posts in May that will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.