2013 Commencement Speech for Teens
For High School Graduating Teens
First, let me congratulate you for graduating High School. I’m sure that every single one of you is glad you’re finished with it. I know it’s been a long four years. We’ve all been there, and I know it wasn’t easy.
But now you’re done, and ready to start the next stage of your life.
The world we’re living in right now, for all of its flaws and tragedies, is very amazing. The best time to be alive is right here, right now. So much of what we know about how the world works is changing very quickly.
And because of this, you can pick almost any career path you want, and succeed at it. Traditional barriers are starting to break down. A college degree isn’t the only path you can take for success, and many people your age are succeeding both with one and without one.
If you want to be an author, an artist, a cook, or own a business, all the information to *be those things* is right in front of you… With just a few keystrokes and clicks. The only thing that’s required of you is the work, the passion, the determination to find an interest and work on it until it’s not just an interest, it’s a skill. A skill that people will find valuable.
A lot of the teens I work with and mentor find this very empowering, but it can also be a little daunting. Especially if our families, friends or community have expectations that we feel compelled to meet.
But now you’re an adult, and *you* are the one in charge of your own life. You can set your own expectations, and you should never let anyone make you feel bad for doing it.
So go out, experiment! Make new friends, try new things, and demand the best from yourself!
What we get out of life is what we put into it, and if you respect and love yourself, you will live a very full life.
Don’t be scared of mistakes… Mistakes help us become successful and happy! As you weather through mistakes, you’ll find you can handle those mistakes with grace and learn from them.
When you make a mistake, own it, make it yours, don’t try to pass it off or minimize it. People will respect you if they know you’re someone who takes responsibility for their actions. Failure is a stepping stone to success, but try not to slip and fall into the river—don’t let failures drown you or your dreams.
And when you’re out in the world going on these new adventures, remember to check in with your family now and then. They’re going to miss you very much because they love you, and nobody is more scared and excited for you than they will be.
They’ve raised you and now they have to let you go and be a little less involved in your life. It’s a scary thing for a parent to let go of a child. So talk to them, let them know how you’re doing. Do it face-to-face as much as possible.
No one is going to live your life for you, it’s up to you to do that. All the choices you make, good and bad, are yours. Try to choose wisely. And above all else, love yourself!
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Debra Beck is a devoted mother, sought-after presenter, author, and has spent over 20 years working with teens and their parents. She’s helped thousands of teen girls develop their self-esteem through her blog, one-on-one mentoring sessions, and mother-daughter retreats.
Her award-winning book My Feet Aren’t Ugly: A Girl’s Guide to Loving Herself was revised and updated for re-release in September 2011 with Beaufort Books.