With graduation approaching fast, seniors are looking for practical advice on what to do going forward. Adult life at first glance seems confusing, daunting and challenging, so how can we encourage graduates in their season of transition? Here are 7 pieces of advice from our staff; advice they’d wished they had received when they were graduating themselves.
Jim P. brought up the importance of your education path and where time with Jesus fits in:
“When I graduated from high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life besides playing soccer. I ended up going to a Christian University on a soccer scholarship and decided to take extra Bible classes until I got a better understanding of what God wanted me to do. Once in college, I quickly realized that soccer would not carry me any farther, but those Bible classes were SO valuable as I grew in my understanding of the Scriptures. Looking back, I realize more and more how central our walk with Christ is to where God plans to use us vocationally. So my advice? Make your goal be to know God, and your daily goal be to spend time with Him.”
Rachel P. highlighted the importance of playing to your strengths and finding support for your weaknesses:
“I wish I was told that adults don’t have all the answers! I went to college feeling like there would be some magical point that I would reach where suddenly, life just made sense. But then I graduated, got married and started my first job, only to find out a lot of adults were just as lost as I was! I wish someone had encouraged me to focus on one area of my life that came easiest (my career for me!), and find support for all the other areas I was lacking in. Today, I have people that I go to for very specific issues/questions, like marriage, faith, friendships, physical well-being, etc. I am a healthier adult because of these people and am more confident in who I am, because I realized I never have to have it all together as long as I have my God and these friends He’s blessed me with.”
Yaninna S. suggested taking a gap year:
“Something I wish people told me after high school is that everyone’s path looks different. I wish someone would have told me to take one year off and travel, explore, find out new things, learn more about myself and the Lord. After all, deciding what the rest of your life will look like right after high school is not easy.”
Marc S. talked about networking, building a professional identity & brand, and maintaining financial responsibility:
“I wish I had known: (a) Developing honest, solid relationships with professors and instructors and employers greatly increases my marketability for employment. A degree and grades isn’t always enough to get the kind of opportunities I want.
b) Even when employed by someone else, I am working for myself. Almost every job has something for me to learn to do well that I can add to my resume and take to the next opportunity within or outside of my current organization. I am not working only for a paycheck; I am also working to build my own brand.
c) To pay myself first. I’ll always have bills and I’ll need food, clothes, shelter, and a way to get to work. But, I should be working for more than just to get to work the next day. I should save and invest in my own financial future. My current job isn’t promised, nor is the next, so I should always be paying myself for emergencies and any future goals. This may mean I need to be creative or versatile about how I acquire and/or manage my finances.”
Christina M. assures seniors that they don’t have to have it all figured out:
“What I wish I’d known when I graduated was that I didn’t have to go through this next phase of my life by myself. I thought I was “technically” becoming an adult and I’m now “supposed” to know what to go to school for and have all the steps lined up….and if that wasn’t enough pressure, then DO EVERYTHING right! I wish I’d known that I didn’t have to carry that burden. The Father wasn’t asking me to know everything and have all the steps lined up and do everything perfectly. He just asks me to come to him and make sure I’m making him a priority in my daily life. When you do that you open the door for the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you and give you wisdom and direction. Had I known this, I think my life back then would have been a lot easier and less stressful. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.’ Proverbs 3:9-10”
Marcia H. remembers when devotionals and Bible reading helped serve her through her time in High School:
“When I graduated from high school I received a lot of devotionals from people as gifts. I assumed that it was because they knew that I was a Christian. But when I began buying my own gifts for graduates, I realized that in giving me books that drew me into the Bible, they were giving me the best wisdom, the best support, the best life lessons, and the greatest love that they had to offer me. My advice to graduates is read the Bible; it’s all in there!”
Vandetta H. keeps it simple:
“Matthew 6:33 – A keepsake for me! And it [is the] truth!”
Questions for your senior (or yourself!):
- Jim references the importance of Bible college and spending time with God. Have there been any Bible colleges that you or your graduate have considered applying at? Has your graduate been spending enough time with God?
- Rachel stresses the importance of having a core group of people to turn to. Is there a core group surrounding your graduate?
- Yaninna wished she could have taken a gap year. Could a gap year be the right path?
- Marc S. recontextualizes the workplace as an area to develop the right connections with the right people. Is your graduate working a dead-end job or an open opportunity?
- Christiana wishes she recognized that nobody has it figured out, and that she needed to rely on the Lord to handle the pressure for her. Is there anything you can confide in your senior about this month? Or any encouragement you can give them?
- Marcia realizes that devotionals and similar resources helped her deep-dive into God’s word. Are there any study guides or companion readers helping your senior visualize the God of the Bible?
- Vandetta H. gave us a powerful verse that can be directly applied by graduating seniors. Is your senior prepared to take on the world?
Looking for more resources to help serve an upcoming graduate? Here are some titles we recommend for a graduation present!
- The Secret of Fellowship by Andrew Murray – recommended by Rachel
- The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren – recommended by Christina
- Love Not The World by Watchman Nee – recommended by Jim
- Victory in Christ by Charles Gallaudet Trumbull – recommended by Jim
- If by Amy Carmichael – recommended by Yaninna
- God in Sandals by Christopher Shaw – recommended by Marcia