Here’s something to mull over. I was emailed this a few months ago, incorrectly attributed to a commencment speech Bill Gates gave at a high school graduation in California. The reality is, it’s from Charles J. Sykes (view snopes.com for the whole story and list). I think this is brilliant and well-said, and definitely needs to be said more often.
I’m paraphrasing a bit here.
Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School
Rule No. 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it.
Rule No. 2: The real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock.
Rule No. 3: You won’t make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or have a car phone either.
Rule No. 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait ’til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he’s not going to ask you how you feel about it.
Rule No. 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity.
Rule No. 6: It’s not your parents’ fault. If you screw up, you are responsible.
Rule No. 7: Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.
Rule No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn’t. In some schools, they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.
Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don’t get summers off.
Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs.
Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them.
Rule No. 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic.
Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven’t seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.
Rule No. 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You’re welcome.