Thursday, June 5, 2014

Allie Pleiter on Life Advice

I bought my daughter a copy of “I Just Graduated, Now What?” as we celebrated her college commencement last month.  These days, the media is filled with life advice for recent grads.  As my son will be donning the cap and gown for his high school graduation this weekend, it’s been on my mind.

My favorite version of this game is “What would you tell your younger self?”  So, in the spirit of graduates everywhere, here is my list of five things I would tell 18-year old Allie if I had the chance:

Ignore the statistics
While it’s good to know the likelihood of something, stats aren’t certainties.  I’ve spent a lifetime bucking the odds—for good or bad—and that’s been 90% of what made life interesting.  Like The Magic School Bus’s Miss Frizzle always said, “Rarely is a long, long, way from never!”

Life doesn’t work like high school or college
Life doesn’t hand out A’s for effort.  Output matters, so while you should embrace the process, get in the habit of focusing on the end game.  Also, what was popular and powerful in high school almost never is in real life.

Marry the nerd
The dreamy guy you think you want now probably won’t turn out to be a decent life partner.  The quiet, studious guy who takes some effort to get to know?  That’s the dependable husband and father that will bloom into a man of amazing character down the road.

Start somewhere
So much of success is digging your heels in and taking the first small step.  Often the plan we lay out at the beginning gets changed.  Almost everyone pays their dues and overnight successes never really are overnight.  A long career in the right direction wins over the hot shot to stardom every time.  Don't wait for the perfect dream job to land in your lap—get as close as you can and work really hard, and the rest will come.

You won’t always look this way
I was gawky in high school.  While I consider myself a well-polished woman now, I sure didn’t start out that way.  Style is something we grow into, confidence can only be earned (or occasionally borrowed).   Conversely, that slim figure I boasted as a young woman is pretty much long gone and while I could wear anything I wanted in my 20’s, now I dress to hide my flaws.  And buy a lot of concealer.

What about you? What advice would you give our high school or college self?


Leann Harris said...

Great, post, Allie.
My advice is show up at your work everyday. You don't have to be the best or the brightest, but if your employer can depend on you to show up every day, being faithful, that is the most important quality a employer wants.

2. I'm for the nerdy guy, too. This is the man who brings home his paycheck every pay period and you can count on him. That's the real hero.

Danica Favorite said...

Love it Allie!!

I did not marry the nerdy guy. But I did marry the handy guy, and it amounts to the same thing. :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Great advice, Allie. I married a "nerd," and my Gwynly has been the best husband and father for our daughter that I could ever want.

Valri said...

Timely post, Allie! My youngest daughter just graduated college and my oldest son just graduated grad school! We've been flying all over the country - whew! We have also been doing a lot of "advice giving" lately. Our son is married with a young daughter so there's not a lot we can say to him except that he just got his first "real job" so he actually asked US for advice. It was nice that he actually listened finally! Our youngest has been asking all kinds of advice as she looks for a teaching job. My hubby and I are trying to think "way back" to when we were that age and what advice would be best for her and what's best for her now!