Things We Wish We Knew When We Were Young

A few years ago, I asked friends to give the best advice they could think of to seniors about ready to graduate from high school.  Thank you to all who contributed.  I think the advice given is applicable to all stages in life.

Here are the responses I received:



Joan MonenIf you want to get ahead in life and make something for yourself and your family…don’t just work…but work REALLY HARD. Sometimes that means sacrificing personal needs. You don’t always get to do everything you want.

Cole UngerDon’t wait a yr after high school to start college. I did and you lose your habits and drive. Also never be afraid of a trade school…simple, affordable, you learn something you can keep with you the rest of your life.

Joan MonenOne more thing….follow Bob Hammitt on FB!! Lol

Angelica Himmel MarineStay true to yourself and always look for the best in others. Be a volunteer and help make someone’s life more joyous.

Anna AndersonBe kind and work hard!

Jennifer Bauer“Get a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” -Confucius.
  • Use your natural talents and personality to find career fit. It’s not just about making a living. It’s about building a life.

Spencer WattsNever ever graduate! Stay in high school foreverrrrr!!!!

Bruce HammittAlways remember that if you are Not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. Be Somebody that will make this world a better place!!

Alyssa DaviesFind passion. Find what lights your fire, you have to do something that makes you smile at least once everyday.
  • Leave your hometown. Get out. See something you have never seen. You only get this chance once. There is nothing wrong with coming back….I was voted most likely to work at canby high school yet I can count all the times I have returned on one hand!
  • Be adventurous.

Julie Hicks Winklebleck1) Behind every mean spirit, obnoxious personality, angry attitude, weird behavior….. is a brokenness. And everyone is a little broken, so in that you have something in common. A place you can show grace. 2) When you grow into a place where you realize your parents were right about a few things…. tell them:)

Debbie Miller Barrattdon’t be in debt. go to college, but pay it off asap. TRAVEL !

Emily TrappDo not conform to the habits of the world around you. They are not always the path that’s best. Challenge yourself to walk independently from your familiar habits.

Lisa Buck BrantingBe a good human. Thank our military personnel. Be good to the plant. Love yourself. Never say never…it can be done.

Shelley Randall HuntThank your parents.

Caitlin SandsnessEnjoy being young, find something that truly makes you happy and go for it. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Don’t try to grow up too fast, before you know it you look back and wonder what if. Never wonder what if, always take chances and most importantly HAVE FUN! Life can’t be so serious all of the time.

Greg GordonGreat Idea Bob. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, you can always come back to it

Brooklyn NelsonLive in the moment of your graduation. I was so worried about getting out. Now I’m almost done with college… Time moves too fast.

Bob HoferYou can never start over, the past is gone. Remember it so you know how you got to where you are. Each day is a new beginning, enjoy what it brings and live it like you will live for ever, taking the time to enjoy the now and not trying to rush to tomorrow. There is always a tomorrow and you can only control this moment, so enjoy it!!

Alyssa MarkovicsBy far my favorite class time

Tammy McKennon GaryLive Life, Stay Strong in what you believe in, Believe in yourself, set attainable goals, Remember where you came from and those that have loved, pushed, and yelled at you ” YOU CAN DO IT”!!!

Tim BartonListen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments and key moments, and life itself is grace (Frederick Buechner)

Tammy McKennon GaryStrive for the biggest and best life has to offer and settle for NO LESS. You chose your future – your future does not chose you.

Cody AmickDon’t let the drama from high school follow you in to the real world

Hendu WayVisit and become good friends with your academic advisors….save u so much time and money in the end. …stay on u r course required list……..unless u wanna be there 6 yrs

Craig PeeblesAlways make sure your final Jeopardy wager leaves you with $1 more than your opponents.

Isaiah CrittendonYou’re a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective.

Mark HardinLife is not fair, deal with it! Read as many books as possible. Find someplace new to visit each year. Vote in every election, or keep your mouth shut about the government. Family comes first. Never let anyone belittle you or question your abilities. Appreciate the job our military, police, & firefighters do to protect us. And never forget to laugh!

Julie TaylorI wish all the graduating Seniors could hear your talk! Any chance an extra copy of the list you are compiling could get into the hands of my senior? Thank you for all the ‘above and beyond’ time you invest in these kids!!!

Courtney Anne NewnhamI don’t think schools focus enough on the importance of travel. Travel enriches your life in ways you didn’t even know were possible. It not only teaches you things about the world that you can’t read in books, but it teaches you things about yourself as well.”The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

Tayler LarsonMr Hammitt me and ‪Erica Nizerstill talk about this being one of our favorite parts of your class/graduation. It means so much to us that you took the time to share all these important life lessons with us. I remember thinking that I hope someday I have a job that I love as much as you so obviously love yours.

Tayler LarsonALSO: after two full years of college my biggest advice to the seniors is to not be afraid to change your mind. So many people go into college 100% set on what they think they’re going to do, and then get lost and frustrated when they realize it’s not the path for them. I changed my major THREE times and even changed the school I was going to in my first year, and now I couldn’t be happier knowing I found my passion and what I love to do.
  • And one last thing for those going away to school… Don’t forget where you came from. Don’t forget to call home. You spent 18+ years under their roof and you owe them a regular phone call. But you’ll also probably be surprised at how much you WANT to talk to your mom after a long, stressful week.
May 23 at 8:59am Unlike· 10

Nicole FriedemannLive for the now, not for the future. High school graduation and GAP will more than likely be one of the last times you will see the majority of your class ever again. Cherish these last moments because they will bring you all great memories!

Vinh TranI’ll keep it simple: work hard, have fun, meet new people and follow Mr. Hammit’s advice on Facebook long after high school!

Kaila Ann DillonYou don’t need to stress about what you’re going to do as a career right away… If you’re going to college take the first year to just focus on first year required freshman classes and see what you like and would be good at… don’t let anyone decide for you!

Amy LarsonIf you get the opportunity to sign up for something (like college, trade school or military, etc) that is going to educate you, give you valuable skills, or open doors of opportunity down the road… Take it! Don’t let yourself be put off by the 2 or 4 or 6-year commitment it takes to finish. I promise you that those years are going to pass anyway (in a blink!) and then you will be 5 years older, with or without the education/skills/experience.
  • If you let the years pass and don’t take the opportunity, chances are you will look back and say you wish you would have. (And it gets harder to start the older you get!) But I have never met ANYONE who said… Boy I wish I HADN’T!
  • Go for it!! You’ll be glad you did!

Jim Millar“Circumstances do not push or pull. They are daily lessons to be studied and gleaned for new knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge and wisdom that is applied will bring about a brighter tomorrow. A person who is depressed is spending too much time thinking about the way things are now and not enough time thinking about how he wants things to be.”

Jim Millar“Circumstances are rulers of the weak, but they are weapons of the wise.” -The Young Traveler’s Gift

Lucy BertoloYou have to advocate for yourself, especially in community college! Just because they work in the office doesn’t mean they know everything. Do your research and talk to friends, siblings, etc who are on similar paths as you to find out what you want/need to do for yourself

Carli McCormickIt is essential to learn how to study and take things one at a time. If you don’t, you will overwhelm yourself.

Alexa JonesEven though you are young, you still need to plan for the future. Its ok if you don’t figure your life out in your first year, or even second year of college, as long as you are really putting an effort into doing so. Grades matter, a lot. Learn how to study, there is a methodology to it for every person. College is just as much about the academics as it is about the experience, make sure there is a balance between the two. But with that said, don’t wait until your senior year to finally give yourself a breather and have fun because you spent the first three years studying every waking minute of your life. Enjoy this time, grow up, make a new family all your own, and remember where you came from. These next four years will be the hardest, best, most exciting, most exhausting, but most importantly Fastest years of your life so live them fully. Congratulations on being done, you did it



Janissa RothThe real world is hard and rough at times so always keep your family and friends close. Never lose touch with them and make great efforts to see or contact them. They’re the ones who will always be there when you need a shoulder to lean on.

Lauren DodgeAnnnddd go ducks!

Jim MillarNot one thing that ever happens to you or that you do or accomplish will ever be because of how you feel, it will be because of how you act.

Jason GrishamEnjoy college and the time you have now. Don’t live in the future or the past because you can’t change the past and can’t predict the future. Live in the present because time goes by way to fast. Enjoy the summer after graduation with your friends because realistically once fall hits all your friends will be going different places and starting new journeys with new friends. Make sure to stay in contact with those high school friends because they were the ones that were there for you though think and thin growing up. Enjoy college to the fullest its a starting block for your future. Academics are even more important in todays society. Because with unemployment so high there are very highly qualified people out there to do your major your going into. With that don’t be discouraged because you are young entering the job field 4 years later. The number one thing that will set you apart from many people is what type of person are you? Make sure to network, network, network and do not burn any bridges down the road because you never know when you might cross paths again. Also if you have opportunities to travel take advantage of that because it gets harder and harder to get away as you get into your career. And last never forget there is not a stupid question the only stupid question is not asking.

Rachel GonzalezStudy Abroad!

Rachel M TeranCongratulations you made it through highschool!!!! If you can do that, you can make it through college…The difference is mom and dad won’t tell you to do your homework, what to wear how to think or even how to believe. This is your first chance to do it on your own. Sometimes those beliefs systems that your parents taught you don’t fit anymore, it is not because they did a bad job. It is because you are growing into your own person who has been sent here with your own beliefs to bring this planet. Listen to these knew beliefs and share with your community your message sometimes that is how you will be an individual in college where it seems so many people having to learn the same things. Do not let professors bully you they are people too and had to start right where you are now. And journal your experience of college with pics and old school diary styles so you can map how much you have grown and learned in 4 small years….have fun…if you are not helping the planet be a part of the team that is!!!!!!

Mikey CarusoEnjoy the moment. At any given time life can change for the worst, live as happy and caring as you can, learn from your mistakes and move on… Stay in the weight room, freshman 15 happens to a lot of people..

Ryan Inahara Leave your laptops at home, don’t bring them to class. You will find yourself checking Justin Bieber’s latest mugshot or Mr. Hammitt’s FB post rather than paying attention to your professor. Invest in a notebook and pens.
  1. Don’t buy your textbooks at the bookstore. There are tons of great websites that you can buy/rent textbooks from ( for rentals, for cheap buying). Also, check to see if your school library has the textbook available to check out. This will save you hundreds of dollars a term.
  1. If you are struggling in a class, talk with your professor about scheduling a meeting in their office. Bring any past assignments that you did poorly on and ask your professor how you can improve. They post their office hours on the syllabus for a reason.
  1. Drinking until you blackout is scary, not funny. Your body will let you know when you’ve hit your limit, listen to it.
  1. Guys: If your college has Greek system, apply to work as a houseboy at a sorority. You will do dishes and serve formal dinners for the girls. It’s a job that pays you to be around hundreds of good looking ladies and eat free meals. If you play your cards right you can get invited to their dances and other “social” events. Best job I will ever have had.
  1. Network. Meeting new people and branching out, I wish I would have done this more as a young college student, although high school friends have many memories and solid friendships it’s always great to meet new people and learn new things from them.
  2. Put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, you will grow so much from doing something you never would have thought to do. example, take a new type of class, walk around campus alone or just sit alone and put your phone away. For me college is the time I found out who I really was and I did so by pushing myself to do new things.
  3. It’s okay to not go to a university, as many of my friends headed off to OSU or UofO I stayed behind and took community college courses, and at times no classes at all. University classes and community college classes are the same but a lot less money at a community college. Taking time in school helped me be more successful and again, let me find out who I was and what I wanted.
May 23 at 1:20pm· Unlike· 4

Ricky ParkerIf you’re going to college, then in a few months just about every aspect of your life is going to change. If you’re not, those changes are still coming pretty soon. You’re not going to be good at everything that comes your way and you’re not going to be able to handle every change as well as you’d like. That’s part of the journey. Figure out how and when to cut yourself some slack without losing motivation. And when in doubt read Rudyard Kipling’s If.

Lauren MorganUncomfortableness is good. It stretches you to go places you would never go, meet people you would never meet, and learn lessons you would never learn. There are MANY blessed paths in life. Choose one. Practice and appreciate the importance of solitude. And express gratitude whenever possible.
  • “Valor is the strength, not of legs and arms, but of heart and soul; it consists not in the worth of our horse or our weapons, but in our own.”

Cody BrittEnjoy every aspect that life has to throw at you whether it is the ups or downs. Coming out of High school it may be a little eerie at first, but it will start to either get really boring or really fun and that is up to the individual. Keep a positive outlook and optimistic view about things and don’t worry about things. In the end, smile because the smile will only brighten the world and the atmosphere around it.

Chris Bryan.. Nothing in life worth having comes easy. The most common setback I see young people make is the need for instant satisfaction. I suffered from this myself and have experienced the consequences. If you can pass on that Friday night party to study, a few extra hours of sleep to prepare for that test, or that car that is just out of your budget to maintain financial stability, you will separate yourself from the pack. Don’t follow the crowd. Look at the habits of successful people in your desired field, and do what they do. If you’re doing the opposite of the what most young people are doing, then you’re probably doing it right.

Keith Roger KunzeIf going to college, join a group or club to meet like minded friends!
  • Allow yourself to expand by trying things you may not have had the opportunity to do in high school… You might learn a thing or two about yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help… You may be in the “real world” but those who care about you will likely still help you if needed.
  • If not going to college and having a hard time meeting people, check online to see if there’s anything you can join in the community… It could be volunteering at a camp, theater, or something along those lines…. Meeting friends is more important than you might think after graduating… And well, life in general

Elizabeth HintzGo to school to study something that you are interested in and passionate about. Make sure that YOU are the person that wants to be sitting in the classroom. Do it for yourself because YOU want it!

Brynn GundersonGo as long as possible without a credit card!
  • Learn how to take constructive criticism and look at it with an open mind and from multiple perspectives.
  • Don’t show up late to class and if you do, you better not have a coffee in hand.

Jennifer DorseyBe fearless, don’t be afraid of failure or success.
  • Be kind, to others and yourself.
  • If you don’t like what’s happening get up off your butt and do something about it.
  • Have the courage to defend those who are unable to defend themselves.
  • Try to live simply, material things are only things, experiences and friendships are worth so much more. You never see a hearse with a luggage rack.

Hailey WalkerBe yourself, don’t change to try and make friends. Being friends with people who don’t like you for who you are, is not worth your time adn energy. Explore clubs and don’t be afraid to try a new hobby. You never know who you will meet. And, stay in touch with old friends, losing a good friend is the worst mistake you can make.

Taylor LeMastersYour gonna lose almost all your friends, only a few youll see regularly, dont worry about it. Either go to college and get a job to start off your life good. Dont do nothing, because if the only thing that changes is you not having to go to school anymore, then your not gonna go anywhere, now is the time to build.

Kim HunterBe true to your word.
  • Respect all living things
  • Listen more
  • Welcome change
  • Be unafraid to grow
  • Quiet your mind
  • Open your heart
  • Extend your hand
  • Love with everything you’ve got
  • Be positive and look for the good in people!!!

Kristina Sanders Scott1-Take each day as it comes
  • 2-Follow your dreams
  • 3-Don’t settle for less
  • 4-Know that everyone has a story… Stop and listen… You could learn something
  • 5-Live life to the fullest
  • 6-Be patient
  • 7-Try everything once
  • 8-Work hard… Play hard
  • 9-Don’t live out of your means
  • 10-Have faith

Sandi Smith KunzeFirst of all, you will figure out what is best for you, trust youself. Second, it’s good to listen to people who have been there, done that….So here goes: Your life is a gift that someone sacrificed to give to you, honor your life and those who gave it to you by living it fully, taking good care of your life and live with a purpose. You get wisdom from experience and knowledge; never stop doing new things and never stop learning; live out your life according to what you have learned is right. Life is HILARIOUS, so laugh a lot, enjoy it and never take anything too serious. The more you focus on helping and loving others the less you will worry and feel sorry for yourself. For me, God is good, all the time, so we really have nothing to worry about. Lastly, don’t waste a moment hating on anyone, if they are truly hateful they aren’t worth the energy. LOVE YOUR LIFE!!!!!

Larisa LukyanovaLove and cherish those around you. Life is a beautiful yet fragile thing and you don’t know how long people will be in your life.

Forgive and forget.

Some professors are wacko… Don’t believe everything you hear.

Stand your ground when everybody’s giving in& don’t live to please others.

Enjoy the real world!



Christie VieiraDon’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.

Ashley CarusoEnjoy your last few m ins as high schoolers talk to someone in highschool u never talked to before u graduate life’s short to try and fit in with the” Cool group” it’s not out in the real world tell your parents thank you for everything they ave done.. I’m 23 had a baby when I was 22 my life changed around flipped up side down and I couldn’t of done t without my wonderful family. Friends I don’t have any that stayed they found out I wasn’t cool anymore because I rather stay in and take care of my child my family stook by my side my friends now are people with other kids.. moral of the story wait on having a baby my little guy is 11 months I have reached a price of 9000 on one little thing doctor bills diapers food clothes wipes baby soap medicine.. that is money I could of used to go to school moved out bought a car my life lesson was I had a kid at a young age enjoy being a young adult have fun with friends GO TO SCHOOL witch I do miss get the dream job u want get your high priority goals done weather u think u can achieve them or not just tell your self u.can do it keep your family close make them number one priority because your best friend right now might not be there once something happens love your life most of all life’s short don’t be scared to make new friends don’t be.scared to try new things put your self out there for the world to see also thank your amazing. Teacher Mr ‪Bob Hammitthe is the one teacher I could never forget nor repay for him teaching me so much in my adolecense life

Ed WatersTo fail is not to try, if you do your best you have already succeeded
May 24 at 3:29pm· Unlike· 1

The following were submitted to me via private message, and the writers wished to remain anonymous.

  1. Be Confident. If you aren’t confident, fake it until you make it.Be confident enough in yourself to choose a good partner. If you choose the wrong partner it makes for a sticky situation.
  1. Don’t procreate until you are ready to be a parent. Go ahead and practice all you want (preferably safely), but an unwanted pregnancy can easily be avoided.
  1. Learn the Time Value of Money. Compounding interest is in an incredible powerful thing, both in your favor and against you. That said, try to only finance your house.  If you have to finance a car, keep your payments within reason.
  1. Sure, live, love, laugh, travel, follow your dreams, etc… However if you don’t do the first three things, all of these things mentioned are a lot tougher.

My advice for your students = get your wisdom teeth pulled as young as you can ! Way fewer complications the earlier they come out. Take advantage of your health insurance and get annual physical exams, dental exams and cleanings, and follow the recommendations your health care providers give you!

Class of 2014,

Congratulations on a successful four years!  In a few short weeks you will be walking across the stage to receive your high school diploma.  Summer will come and go and then it will be time for many of you to embark on a new journey.  No matter which direction you plan to go here is my advice to you:

  • Always be true to yourself
  • No matter what you finds your hands doing do it to the best of your capabilities
  • Always speak the truth and respect others.Your integrity will stay with you for the rest of your life
  • Set aside some time to help other people
  • Learn how to network.This will be pivotal as you start and grow your career
  • Read Dave Ramsey’s book “Total Money Makeover.” Learning how to manage money is actually fun and you will be thankful that you aren’t starting life in the “real world” thousands of dollars in the hole. Learn how to BUDGET
  • We all grow up hearing how special we are from our parents…you’re not.The truth is that there are thousands of people that are graduating in a few weeks too that are going to be competing for the same jobs as you.  You need to work your butt off and find a way to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. Find a mentor!
  • Don’t expect to make $100,000 out of college.Start at the bottom, work as hard and smart as you can, gain the respect and trust of your superiors, and the money will come
  • College is going to be one of the best times of your life.Learn how to manage your social time and your study time. Like everything else in the world, college will come to an end and you need to be prepared to enter the work force. Mediocrity simply doesn’t cut it
  • Never forget where you came from.Thank your parents, aunt and uncles, grandparents, whoever helped you become who you are today, as much as you can.  They sacrificed a lot for you and you should never forget that
  • Never stop learning.Knowledge is power.  The world is ever changing and you will separate yourself from the competition as time goes on
  • At the end of the day…keep it simple!Don’t let the little things take your time or energy
  • You are going to have to overcome adversity the rest of your life.Tighten the chinstrap and never stop moving forward. As our grandma’s say, “this too shall pass.”
  • You will have a choice every day to become better or stay the same.Always try to better yourself in all areas of your life
  • Learn to think for yourself.Do not just accept something as fact because you heard it on TV, read it in an article, or heard something in the classroom
  • You live in the greatest nation in the world.Never forget the sacrifices people made for you allowing you to pursue your life dreams.

I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors!

During a commencement speech at the University of Texas, the commander of the forces that organized the raid to kill Osama bin Laden delivered some key advice on success.

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed,” U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven told the graduates of his alma mater on May 16.

McCraven, the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, relayed several lessons he has learned in 36 years as a Navy SEAL, starting with some advice that was music to the ears of exasperated mothers everywhere.

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” he said. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.

“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

“That’s what I always tell my son — make the bed first thing in the morning!” Natalie Morales said during TODAY’s Take on Wednesday.

McCraven’s 10 lessons also included accepting the help of others, measuring a person by the size of his or her heart, fighting through adversity, not being afraid of failure, and charging into difficult situations head-on. He also encouraged graduates to “be your very best in the darkest moment” by finding inner strength and to never lose hope or give up.

With the hundreds of employees i have hired over the years my biggest gripe has been ( especially for college graduates) is to expect to start at the bottom and work hard. in the interview process tell me what you will do for me ad my company, not you have a degree and think you should be rising the ranks in Months not years.

Luanne WagnerSorry I missed your request. I found a great phrase a few weeks ago. I have been telling my students, Always remember you are braver than you believe… Stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

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