What to say to graduating students

sukh asks: What advice would you give to the outgoing class?

Hi sukh –


Well, I’m not a great expert on this.  My entire educational experience was a few weeks of obedience school (and some later remedial tutoring).  We didn’t get any advice from our teacher – the main advice he gave was to our humans, advising them to keep training us!


My bigger problem, though, is that I don’t know what “outgoing class” you mean.  Are they graduating sixth grade?  High school?  College?


Either way, though, I guess there are some things I’d want to say.  I’d tell them to try to be kind – to each other, to strangers, and to the world as a whole.  I’d tell them to stay curious, about everything, always.  I’d tell them that there’s nothing as important or as valuable as friends and family, though most probably already know that.  I’d tell them that the dominant quality of youth is that most of them don’t know yet what loss really means, so to be very careful to not be too casual about important things.  I’d tell them that the genius of youth is in questioning everything, but that a few suggestions have lasted so long without being undone that they can take them on face-value: “Know Thyself,” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and “A dog is a man’s best friend” are high on my list!


And then I would do something they’ve all probably done a lot as students – I’d use a quotation.  This line is from a great play called “Carousel,” that ends with, of all things, a high school graduation ceremony.  (Now you don’t need to know all that’s led up to it, but believe me, if you ever see the show, you will not be able to watch this scene without crying!)  Anyway, here’s the speech the head of the school gives:


“The world belongs to you as much as to the next fella.  Don’t give it up.  And try not to be scared of people not liking you; just try liking them.  Just keep your faith and courage, and you’ll come out all right.  It’s like we used to sing every morning, when I went to school.  Maybe you still sing it; I don’t know.

“When you walk through a storm

Keep your chin up high

And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of the storm

Is a golden sky

And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind

Walk on through the rain

Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart

And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone.”


Good Luck!



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