We all love a good commencement speech, even if the rest of the graduation ceremony drags on. The feeling of hope and inspiration is palpable, but the words are easily forgotten in the excitement of graduation parties and final planning for college. That’s why the EducationQuest Blog Squad put our advice in writing. Heed our words as you prepare to step into a brave new world.Group of Graduates during commencement.

Be nice to everyone, but choose your friends wisely. (Jeannine Phelan)

My mother gave this sage advice to me at the start of every school year, but it’s great advice for your entire life. People react well to those who are kind, and you are the sum total of the five people you surround yourself with the most. So, decide who you want to be in the future – and find friends who will help you get there.

Be present and look toward the future. (Chelsea Dickan)

You are about to begin a new chapter of your life! If your time in high school was a struggle, you now have the opportunity to shed that past life and reinvent yourself. As you go into college – or whatever your “next step” is – don’t let the past weigh on you. Be present in the present and look forward to what is to come.

Focus on being a better you, not a better them. (Jason Combs)

This advice came from a Hemingway quote and has always been important to me. Don’t get caught up in being better than someone or having more things than another person. Social media perpetuates this attitude. Strive to focus on how you can be a better person today than you were yesterday. Identify and learn from your mistakes and use that knowledge to move forward.

Try new things at college! (Allison Ourada)

A new environment is the perfect excuse to step out of your comfort zone. You won’t regret having new experiences and making new friends.

Get involved during college! (Jacquie Butler)

Whether it’s campus organizations, Greek life, your church, or the community, getting involved will benefit you exponentially! Not only will you make new friends, you’ll also gain new perspectives and skills. You’ll create contacts who may help you secure a job or serve as personal references down the road.  Also, being around other people will simply make your college experience better!

You become what you think about. (R.J. Vega)

Whatever you surround yourself with, you will absorb. So, surround yourself with people, things, and environments that will push you to grow, learn, and add value to you every day. Part of that includes education/training, part of that includes experience and risk. When you match up education + experience, you become a force of nature. The journey is yours, immerse yourself in it.

Enjoy bittersweet moments. (Wynter Davis)

Enjoy all aspects of college: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Those moments may seem very routine at the time and part of the everyday grind. But, they will be the moments you’ll reminisce on when you think about your college years. When I look back on my college experience, I remember the great times I had with my teammates and friends. But I also remember the bittersweet moments that made those years so memorable and made my college feel like home. And, I will take sprinting across campus to my 8:00 am class over paying bills any day of the week!

Be willing to be vulnerable. (Kristin Ageton)

Tell someone how terrified you feel about finding a job. Actually believe you are good enough for the amazing job you do get. Admit when you mess up and apologize with sincerity. If you want to find purpose and experience happiness, be “real” with every circumstance you encounter.