Reflecting on advice at graduation

News Editor Lauren Rice

I closed out my first year as an undergraduate student at CMU with a long car ride in a vehicle packed full of the items I’ve acquired for my dorm over the course of the last two semesters. 

Aside from my well-fed cat, what I found waiting for me at home was yet more … stuff. So I’ve cleaned it all out, sorted it, and prepared a few bags of clothes and childhood toys for donation. 

Among the abundance was also a large stack of congratulatory cards from my high school graduation open house. The money that was in them is long gone -- delegated to a savings account to pay tuition and buy textbooks -- but what’s left are the words of advice I received from friends and family as they sent me off into the real world. 

I’ll be honest, I love these people dearly, but some of the advice they wrote down was probably not as helpful as they intended. I believe I did in fact “go, girl!” but whether or not I successfully “slayyyy(ed)” is TBD.

So, now that the spring semester has come to a close, I think I’m qualified to point to a few pieces of advice that did work for me, as well as a couple I didn’t embody the way the advice-giver thought I would. 

Remember your support system

I’m lucky to have all of these people supporting me, and more than a few gave me their contact information so I could reach out if I needed help.

When I first saw cards like these, I didn’t understand how much I would need that support system, but that’s because I didn’t understand how stressed out I would get on long nights when there’s no end in sight for my to-do list. 

It’s important to remember the people who care about you and how much they want you to succeed ... at least that’s how I got through the stressful days. I reminded myself that I want to make the world a better place for these people, and as tedious as some assignments seem, it will all be worth it eventually (I hope). 

Go on plenty of dates and meet lots of guys

Umm… ok Grandma. I know what she’s getting at, I think. She wants me to do more than study, to have a social life. I can get behind that. 

I’m still not sure what made her think I have rizz though. It seems like her college experience was a lot different from mine. 

Pick your roommates carefully

This one makes a lot of sense, and I didn’t pick all three of my roommates -- but I really lucked out having good ones. I knew who I was going to share a room with, but we didn’t have suitemates selected before moving in. 

At least for the first semester, when homesickness was at its highest and no one knew quite what to do, having roommates and friends down the hall to be dazed and confused with made a world of difference. 

I had support from home, two hours away, but it was good for me to find people who lean on me and who I can lean on, right here on campus. I hope everyone has that kind of help when they need it. 

Don’t spend it all in one place

I did spend it all in one place. Thank you for contributing to my college tuition savings. 

Don’t work too hard

My dad knows my "workaholic" tendencies too well. Maybe I did work too hard, but in retrospect, there’s not a lot I would do differently. 

I’m lucky to be able to say I love what I do, and I know that because the work doesn’t always feel like work. I tell stories and learn new things every day. That may not be for everyone, but I certainly hope everyone gets to love their path as much as I’m enjoying mine. 

Lauren Rice is Central Michigan Life summer editor and news editor. In her first year on campus, she covered the Michigan gubernatorial election, campus politics and government and feature stories, including a deep dive into women on the front lines in World War II.