For The Graduates


For The Graduates

Congratulations to the class of 2023! As a professional coach, consultant, and all-around happy guy, I would like to offer some advice, humor, and perspective as you end this chapter of your lives and look forward to the next.

First and foremost, take a look around. You will never see the world through the lens you are using right now. Once you graduate, your lens will be very different. More on the difference later. Right now, slow down, put your phone in your pocket and look around. Your community, your family, and your friends are all in your corner. Soak it in.

Second, it’s ok if you have no idea what’s next for you. Some of you are going off to college. Parents are so proud. Social media is awash in messages about graduates and where they are going. That’s fabulous and congrats on that. Some of you will take some time to figure things out. That’s fabulous. Some are going to trade schools. Fabulous. Some will enter the job market. Fabulous. As someone who has been on this floating, spinning rock a few spins longer than you I can promise you this…Your next thing won’t be your last thing, and you know what that is? You got it, fabulous. It’s ok to not know what your long-term goals are. It’s ok to want to dip your toes in the water of adulting before diving in. Take this time to just be. The world will keep spinning. You will find your calling. I promise.

Third, be sure to take a moment to thank those who helped get you to this point in your life. Parents? Of course. Teachers? You bet. What about siblings, aunts, uncles, little league coaches, the wonderful people behind the counter at the coffee shops and hang outs you frequent? Yep, them too. Thank them, and please mean it.

Fourth, you are about to realize just how cold the world really is. I hate to break it to you, but the world doesn’t care if you succeed or fail. It doesn’t care if you fall. You know who does care? A great many of those people mentioned above who you are going to thank. The places and faces you stopped to look around and notice in my first suggestion are going to have your backs as well. Some of you will venture far, some will stay close. Home is where the people who will cheer, root, and love you are. Never forget that.

Lastly, take a moment to have a good think on what you have accomplished. As mentioned before, the world is spinning really quickly and your 17, 18, 19 is much older than mine was when I graduated. Grads will know what I am talking about. You have been exposed to more, bombarded with more, and expected to be more than we old folks ever were. So, I would ask you to take a moment, have a think on what you’ve done and smile. You have started to write your story. You have started to have moments. You have people. Never forget that. When the world starts spinning so fast you are feeling overwhelmed, stop and have a think. Thinks are a great way to hit the pause button for a few minutes to reflect, define, and plan what’s next.

2023 graduates, congratulations. The good news is that much is going to be expected of you. The bad news is that much is going to be expected of you. We are rooting for you. We applaud your accomplishments. We look forward to your successes and we will be there when you fall. Please, please, please don’t worry about any of that now. Set your own expectations and live to exceed them. Let me say that again. Set your own expectations and live to exceed them. Let your expectations set your compass. No one else’s. You can do it. We believe in you. More than you know, your hometown wishes you every good thing.


Steve Gwisdalla is a Dexter resident and Owner, Head Honcho, and Chief Cheerleader For All Things Up at BetterPlace Consulting. If you get stuck in some down, reach out to him at

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