After so many years in school, it dawns on our not-yet-but- soon-to-be adults that a new chapter is about to open in their lives and they'd like to extend the cruise a little longer.
Here's my message to a whole bunch of seniors this year who are venturing forth from this place into an exciting but uncertain future, and who need to think seriously about putting it back in gear for the road ahead.
The world will accept you on its terms, and not the other way around.
Some of you have been given the wrong message. It is that your charm and good looks and winning ways place you right at the center of the universe and things will just naturally fall into place for you.
That, my children, is a self-delusion that you will either get over, or be forever handicapped by. If we, your teachers, have not taught you that hard work and determination are rewards in and of themselves, and that fairness and honesty are guides and not empty platitudes, then we have failed you (or perhaps you have not listened well).
If your own inner voice, otherwise known as your conscience, has not begun to make its presence known to you, then I would gently but firmly suggest that you tune in better.
But don't think of any of this as failings on your part. Think of it instead as a pointed reminder that education is a life-long pursuit. When you stop learning new things, something vital inside of you dies.
Rest assured that we who dispense this kind of advice are knee deep in our own lessons. Life is a kind of school that is always in session for each one of us, regardless of age. Be leery of people who think they have "graduated." It is more likely that they have dropped out. And be less impressed with people who have more answers than questions.