Alternative Advice

University commencement season is the time for many guest speakers, a lot of platitudinous drivel from famous people, and the occasional stand-out speech.

NPR reports that:

Charles Wheelan says he’s sick of those speeches. When he spoke at his alma mater, Dartmouth College, he delivered what he called an “anti-commencement” speech, with straightforward advice that he wishes someone had told him at graduation. He lists 10 of those pieces of advice in an essay that ran in the Wall Street Journal, including “Some of your worst days lie ahead” and “Don’t try to be great.”

His ten points are:

1. Your time in fraternity basements was well spent.

2. Some of your worst days lie ahead.

3. Don’t make the world worse.

4. Marry someone smarter than you are.

5. Help stop the Little League arms race.

6. Read obituaries.

7. Your parents don’t want what is best for you.

8. Don’t model your life after a circus animal.

9. It’s all borrowed time.

10. Don’t try to be great.

Basically, he’s aiming to emphasize that college graduates should attempt to put their lives in perspective and understand that early adulthood is both very, very hard and very meaningful. It’s important to try, as much as possible, to enjoy the live you lead as a young professional, even if it’s often troublesome and frustrating.

Read the full essay about the ten ideas that he wrote for the Wall Street Journal.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer