Father’s Graduation Letter to Daughter


First, congratulations on completing your college degree! I’m impressed with the determination, drive and hard work you have demonstrated during your college days. Good job!

Every day marks the beginning of the next day of your life but there are certain days that represent major milestones. This is one of them. You are now faced with an almost infinite number of choices as you look forward to whatever you’ll be doing and wherever you’ll be going next. There is no right or wrong path to take in life, as all journeys can be great ones. It is you who’ll ultimately determine how interesting, fulfilling and rewarding the journey is, not the road you take.

Having said that I encourage you to take some risks, especially early on in life when you perhaps have more flexibility, and consider exploring different directions and ventures that may not be so obvious and common. If your ambition is to be like everyone else – nothing wrong with that – then you should follow the conventional path in life. If you want to try something different you have to throw conventional wisdom out the window and take what most people would characterize as risks or even irresponsible choices. This could be anything from spending a couple of years working somewhere in China, starting your own company, joining a sub-Saharan help organization, going to grad school in New Zealand, joining a two year long oceanic expedition or working in Switzerland or Norway for a few years. The list is endless.

Life is made up of a lot of small journeys and you want to strive to make them as enjoyable, interesting and rewarding as possible. When you embark on a journey you never know what will happen along the way and where it’ll end up, which, at least to me, is incredibly fascinating. Regardless of the path you choose I know you’ll be fine. But try to pursue something you really want to do although it is not always easy to know what that is. One piece of advice: never let money be the primary motivator for what you decide to do. Success is not measured by your job, your education, how much money you have or what kind of car you drive. Success is determined by who you are and how you lead your life.

I could spend a lot of time providing advice but I’m sure you’ll figure it all out along the way, which is the way life is. But I’ll share a few things that I have found of great help and could perhaps have done more of during certain parts of my life:

-Treat all people with respect and be nice to everyone – no exceptions
-Always maintain the integrity of your personal character – it defines who you are
-Have lots of good friends and actively cultivate your friendships
-Don’t expect too much from others – expect a lot from yourself
-Do what is right even if it is difficult – it is always tempting to take the path of least resistance
-Don’t worry about the past or about things you can’t affect – it only makes you miserable
-Never criticize and complain – it doesn’t require skills, intelligence or experience
-You have more power and abilities than you think you have – yes, you can move mountains
-Do more than expected at work, at home – don’t expect pats on your back – rewards will eventually come
-Never be afraid to tell the truth even if it is bad news – hiding problems only make them worse
-Be an independent thinker and make up your own mind – lead, don’t follow
-All relationships require lots of work from both parties – it’s never easy – mutual trust and respect is key
-Stay healthy
-And remember: life is too important to be taken seriously

I could go on and on but enough preaching. I know you’ll figure it all out.

Again, great job on your degree and enjoy your journeys in life!

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