Another spring is upon us – and just as the flowers, trees and plants are erupting into bloom after a long dormant winter eager to shower the world again with their life-giving beauty, so, too, is another season of hope, birth and regeneration within our midst. Just as nature is once again reminding us all of the cyclical nature of life in simultaneous coincidence, another seasonal event is transpiring whereby tens of thousands of our nation’s youth stand shoulder to shoulder adorned with cap and gown poised to figuratively announce to the world, “We are ready to bloom.”
I’m certainly not under any delusion that I have a future as a commencement address orator. I’m fully aware that my sometimes brutally honest candor is not exactly what today’s collegiate faculty or administrators want delivered as the final parting thoughts to this year’s (or any year for that matter) pie-eyed sheep. With that being said, however, I would nevertheless like to take this opportunity to audition my commencement “talents” and offer a few parting thoughts to this year’s eager young cast of hopefuls as they anxiously stand on the precipice of real life.
Welcome to the Real World. You’ve finally made it. Congratulations! Here in the Real World, we have opportunities that, should you choose to pursue them in a diligent manner, have the ability to afford you everything you desire in life. Should you decide that a happy, prosperous life sounds like a good deal for you, in the Real World we will happily give you at least a couple of chances to make something of yourself before we possibly dispose of you. We will be more than happy (at least for a while) to allow you to pit your skills, competency level, intelligence and work ethic against millions from across the globe who are just like you and see if we can use you.
You haven’t forgotten that you live in a global society, have you? I hope that while mommy and daddy were making a sizable investment into that dome of yours that you at least acquired that rather obvious fact. To have the “prosperous, happy” life you’ve always seen yourself in is a bit tougher these days in the Real World. We have an enormous pool to pull from, which gives us the ability to have a very low tolerance for “average” people.
You’re not “average” though, are you? You’ve actually done something with the brief flash that to date represents your existence, haven’t you? I mean, just look at all of those participation awards you managed to accumulate over the years! You never could be truly good at something; so instead of applying yourself and improving, you cowered and complained. “It’s not fair that I never win,” you would pathetically exclaim to those who should have been instilling within you fortitude and determination. Instead, however, they created the “participation” award to protect your fragile ego. In the Real World we don’t give out participation awards. Be valuable; be productive or be gone.
But maybe athletics and extra circulars just weren’t your thing. Perhaps you were more the scholarly type. You’re probably very proud of your scholastic achievement, aren’t you? How much of it was really you though? In the same vein as your participation awards, were you just a fortunate recipient of the “curve” all these years? Or maybe you’re just the kind of kid that Common Core was created for. Did everyone else have to get dumber so you could believe you’re smart?
Well, in the Real World, kid, we don’t have the curve – and we sure as hell don’t have Common Core. We use a bit of a different scale out here that only has two letters: “S” for success and “F” for failure. Except when you get an “F” now it won’t technically stand for “failure,” it will stand for “fired,” And then it’s right back to that massive pool we have to choose from to easily replace your average, underachieving self while you begin to see some of the hopes of a prosperous life start to slip away.
Despite what you’ve been told, a happy, prosperous life isn’t for everyone here in the Real World. It’s only for the best, the brightest and those who are willing to put it all out there and work their tails off on a daily basis. It’s only for those who understand that they don’t have the right to happiness; they only have the right to “pursue” happiness, and then they take that right very seriously.
Most of you haven’t taken anything seriously your entire lives. Every failure was just one more opportunity to create an excuse or lower your standards. In the Real World we won’t accept your excuses, and every time you lower your standards all you’re doing is devaluing what you want out of you life. In the end the only loser is you.
Hi, I’m the Real World, and I’m here to kick your teeth in. Are you going to let me? The slightest hesitation, the slightest amount of apathy, and that is exactly what I’ll do. The only person that can determine that outcome is you. It’s time to get busy living or get busy dying.
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