One of the most well-known graduation speeches is often incorrectly attributed to former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.
It was actually the premise for two books written by Charles J. Sykes.
Despite the lack of a mega-billionaire having said it, “Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School” is appropriate as we are in the mist of high school graduations.
Here’s our version of the “rules.”
• Life is not fair. Get used to it. It really never has been for any generation before you either.
• The real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as your school does. Accomplishments are more valued. And you’re right, it’s not fair. See above rule.
• You won’t make $40,000 a year right out of high school (unless you go into one of the trades) and you won’t start out at the top.
• If you think you had tough teachers, bosses generally are tougher. They are looking for results. Effort is laudable. Results are required.
• Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger-flipping. They called it opportunity.
• It’s not your parents fault if you screw up. You are responsible. Once you turn 18, it’s on your dime.
• Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way paying bills, cleaning your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are compared to them.
• Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life hasn’t. Find a way to succeed at whatever you choose to do. There are no participation trophies in life and someone is always keeping score.
• Life is not divided into semesters, and you no longer get summers off. Your employer will expect you to show up every day and give a full day of work for a full day of pay. The world is run by those who show up.
• Television, the Internet and social media are not real life. The amount of time you spend on Instagram, Snapchat and other outlets may need to be reduced or even eliminated as the real-world reality begins to take hold.
• Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for one someday. That’s the bit that seems to have linked Bill Gates to these statements. While you’re at it, be nice to everyone. No one likes a bully, student or adult.
This week we bid farewell to graduates across the county, and we also say welcome to big and challenging world that is ahead.
Your parents, your teachers, your community and many others have taken time to help shape you, now it’s time to show them they weren’t wrong to invest in you.