Alum shares wisdom with grads

Posted June 09, 2011

ACU alum Kevin Thompson ('99) writes a weekly conservative political column called "Write of Center" for the Boerne Star. Last week, his advice column written to recent graduates was picked up by the San Antonion Express-News.

He advises graduates:

It is that time of year when young people walk across stages to exchange adolescence for adulthood. It could actually be that easy, if they would but listen to and act upon the wisdom of commencement speakers.

Alas, notwithstanding the youthful propensity to learn the hard way, my (unsolicited) two cents, on politics and beyond, for the Class of 2011: Do an internship in a local, state or federal government office. You'll answer phones and stamp envelopes but you'll get to see how collective decisions get made and how you can influence the process in the future.

Volunteer for a real campaign (and, sorry, sorority pledge director doesn't count). Student leadership roles are popular, but they're not as useful and long-term meaningful as experience in a real-world operation. Figure out where your passion and public policy intersect. Ask your professors or company leaders. Government touches every area of life. You should know who makes the decisions for how it touches yours.

Don't be afraid to specialize. Some degrees are so broad that you can "do anything with them." In actuality, they are so general that you can't do anything with them. Specializing opens, not closes, doors. Just like boundaries for kids increase their creativity, the more targeted your endeavors, the more opportunity will come from them.

Technology has shortened communication gaps. Texting and Facebook messaging are easy and fun, but consequential business will always get done through voice to voice and face to face relationships. Practice those communication skills if you want to rise above the masses. And don't text and drive. Run every social interaction through the rubric of "How will this situation help me lead a healthy family one day?" I hear often, "I married the wrong person," and think to myself, "No, you were the wrong person." Don't expect to give yourself physically to a slew of partners and get a committed, satisfying marriage in return.

We live in a fame-happy culture. There is an ever-present temptation to concern yourself with what other people think of you. On this topic, author and all around wise guy Mark Twain offered a helpful epiphany: "When I was 20, I cared a lot about what people thought of me. When I turned 30, I no longer cared what they thought. When I reached 40, I realized that people weren't thinking about me to begin with."

You were born into a situation that you did not choose. For better or worse, things happened to you and around you that you did not control. You are not responsible for what happened to you as a child. You are responsible for how you respond as an adult.

It will help to believe that you have a Heavenly Father who created you and cares deeply for you. Israel's illustrious King David believed as much. His words from Psalm 62: "One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving."

Strength and love. May these your aspirations be.


Read the article and view the comments in the San Antonio Express-News here.




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