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Advice for Life

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Where are you going to college?” “Well then what are you majoring in?” “Have you considered trades?” “It’s a little late to consider studying that…” “That won’t make you any money.” “Do what makes you happy.” 


It’s an almost constant dialogue that runs through so many graduates’ heads. What is my life going to look like after high school? There can be both endless expectations, and yet endless possibilities. While my time here at North Scott has come to a close, I have yet to figure out the rest of my life. The thing is, no one has everything all figured out. So within this article is advice from several North Scott teachers who want to leave you with a few words. 


One thing I didn't really understand until later in life was that everyone has a story, everyone has problems . . . some are just better at hiding their problems than others. - Susan Dewey

Kent Greenwood:

Advocate for yourself.  Go out into the world and get what you want. Don't come up with excuses and don't give up. If you fail... use it as a learning experience. The best things I have gotten in my life were things I didn't think I was qualified for, but I wasn't afraid to go out and try to get them.


Advice for college: Go find out who you are.  Don't worry about conforming to norms or trying to be popular.  Go out and take classes that challenge and change you, and be willing to step out of your comfort zone.  Capitalize on the opportunities that college gives.


Susan Dewey:

One thing I didn't really understand until later in life was that everyone has a story, everyone has problems . . . some are just better at hiding their problems than others. 


Once you understand that, you have more compassion and grace for others. Grace becomes easier to extend once you recognize how much grace has been given to you. 

Also, once you realize nobody has a "perfect" life, you stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. You have to set aside your pride, getting your way, and always being right sometimes to be able to have fulfilling relationships . . . relationships are what makes life in this chaotic world bearable. Be the kind of person others want to have in their life.


Ellen Oltman:

  • Find joy in every day, because every day isn't going to be great but something in every day is great. 

  • Compliments go so far; trust me, you will make someone's day and you will feel so good 

  • Kindness goes so far

  • Find your squad and love them deeply

  • Include others

  • Trust your gut with people and situations; if something feels wrong it probably is

  • Be open-minded; someone once told me you can't have an opinion on something until you have heard all different perspectives 

  • You're allowed to change; who you are today is not who you will be in 5, 10, 15 years. Grow through it

  • Get comfortable being alone

  • Call your parents/guardians because they love you so much. Set up a weekly call where you debrief the whole week and what the next week looks like. 

  • Stay organized; if you're going to college don't rely on your advisors they have hundreds of students do the research for what classes you need on your own

  • Find a quiet study space

  • Don't let FOMO take over

  • The earlier you learn to laugh at yourself the easier life gets


Sean Chapman:

I'm always adjusting my advice since I'm learning things all the time. I'll try to boil it down to some basic ideas that have helped me:


  • Try not to sweat the small stuff--I hate to sound like a poster, but the more you can focus on what makes you happy, the better. It's easy to get pulled down by things that ultimately don't or won't matter for long in your life.

  • If you do have something that makes you happy, practice it and keep at it. Many of the artists and people we love simply fell for a certain art form, or a way of looking at the world, and spent years practicing it until other people noticed. You suck at art (now). You don't know French (yet).

  • Trees--I've been thinking about this a lot. When I was a kid, about your age, and had moved out of my childhood house, I couldn't see the point in planting a tree at my new house. I felt like the world was constantly shifting and changing, and there was no chance I'd get to see that tree grow. I've since learned that 10 years is nothing. Back then, ten days seemed like an eternity. So plant trees--NOTE: this is a metaphor.

  • Sometimes, you need to be selfish. You will meet people that drain you. Be careful and take good care of yourself. Don't waste time with mean people or poor tippers.

  • Finally, this isn't a rehearsal. This is your one life. Try to be a positive force in the world. Don't waste much time with petty grievances and hate. Make mistakes, but move on. Let go of dead weight. Live your life like there are no respawns--soak it up.


Zeb Hubner:

The best advice I can give our friends as they move on to the next chapter is to show up and show up on time! Whether it's school or work, make sure you show up consistently so people can count on you and their confidence in you isn't misplaced. It's very challenging if you knock over the trust bucket to refill it. Once people lose faith/trust in you that is something you can't often get fully back. So give effort in what is being asked or expected of you. If it doesn't go awesome but people know you're putting in the effort they can get on board with supporting/helping/trusting you so take that responsibility seriously. If you can do that you won't spend your adult life with somebody telling you what to do all the time. They will give you a task/job and know they can count on you to get it done.


Also make sure to find hobbies you enjoy and pursue them so it gives you a healthy life balance. Now sometimes you can't explore the hobbies as much as you want based on what you have to get done from work/school expectations, but if you achieve success in the work/school aspect early and build good habits as you get older, you get a lot more opportunities for hobbies.




Jennifer Sambdman:

  • Financial - Start a Roth IRA today. Deposit as much as you can each month - compound interest is king. 

  • Major in college - Get a major that gets you the job that will provide the lifestyle you want, not a hobby. You want to set yourself up to be successful so you can enjoy your hobbies as an adult. 

  • Job - If something happened today, your company would post your open position by the end of the week. Do NOT give your entire life to your job - enjoy yourself and those around you. Work to live, not live to work.

  • Friends - The friends you choose to keep in your life will become evident two summers after graduation - you will work at maintaining the relationships that are beneficial to you. 

  • Personal growth - Read. So many people don't read. My husband, a union painter, just started reading again and is loving all things, Neil Shusterman. You would be shocked by how quickly you can fall asleep, the improvement in your speaking, and the fun you will have finding hidden Easter Eggs in movies, shows, etc.  



Cherie Henningsen:

  • You have your whole life BUT don't waste your time bc you don't know how much you get

  • Stay focused & disciplined BUT not so much that you miss out on opportunities or joy

  • Care about what you're doing & where your focus is BUT not so much you forget there are other perspectives and experiences to be had

  • Live life to the fullest BUT do so in a way you can actually enjoy it-- meaning prioritize your health & wellness (sleep, nutrition, sunlight, activity, gratitude)

  • Be thoughtful & emotional BUT not to the point where you let your thoughts take over bc sometimes they will lie to you

  • Sometimes it's ok to be ahead of others in life in comparison to others BUT not if you have to disregard other humans to get ahead

  • Be more consciously aware & present of your everyday lifetime; don't waste it BUT it's ok to not be productive every day

  • Sometimes it's OK to be behind in comparison to others BC your time will come

  • Have integrity in what you do and how you get it DON'T cheat your way to it

  • Learn with the intention of gaining knowledge, not just doing what you need to do to get by-- might as well gain intellect as you are doing it

  • Have gratitude for self and others - it will serve you both

  • Journal your goals for the year--work toward them; revisit them and modify them -- at the end of every year make a plan with yourself about where you were successful and where you were challenged (repeat)

  • Setbacks, struggles, and difficulties are a part of everyone's life-- don't take it personal-- work through them and appreciate challenges because sometimes it creates pathways you never knew you would be thankful for

  • it's ok to start over on something; you have experience now, so don't be discouraged

  • don't try so hard to get everyone to like you or be disappointed when someone doesn't; not everyone will ...(do YOU like everyone? Does it impair your life? not likely...same!)


Me, Delaney Fitzgibbon:

It can be overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. You are finally done with your four years here. My advice to you and to myself is to be grateful for everything because every high and every low will ultimately get you where you are going. There will be days, weeks, and maybe even years that are difficult, but it's up to you to realize how good you have it. Despite the challenges you face, you have so much experience to look back on and so much experience to look forward to. You have yourself your whole life, so try not to take life so seriously all of the time. You are doing what you can with what you have been given. Just know that life has a weird way of working everything out.


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