1. Pursue the career that makes you happy even if it doesn’t make you rich. It is you and you alone who has to endure it for a few decades. There are many rich, but miserable, people in the world.
2. Keep your credit good. Pay your bills and save for hard times. Don’t charge anything that you can’t pay off by the end of the month.
3. Keep your word. If you say you are going to do something, do it.
4. Have fun. You only have one life, so find time to enjoy yourself. Travel and explore new places. Go. See. Do.
5. Never stop learning. Read as much as you can and pay attention to the world around you.
6. Treat people with respect even when it appears they do not deserve it. You will always end up as the bigger person. Surround yourself with positive people. “Change your filter” when necessary!
7. Be careful how you carry yourself in public. Speak well and act appropriately. You’ll never know who may be watching.
8. Don’t email, text, or record anything you wouldn’t want your family, friends, or mentors to see. Once something is in cyberspace, you can’t get it back.
9. Get your master’s degree. You will make yourself more marketable and open more doors for yourself.
10. When you start a family (when you are college-educated and financially stable) emulate the best of what your parents provided you or be the parent you always wanted to have.
11. Serve your community. When you do for others you are enriched ten-fold.
12. Make healthy choices. Every drug addict and alcoholic once made the decision to begin destructive behavior.
13. Never make yourself small just so somebody else can feel big. Get out there and shine, and if ‘they’ don’t like it, they need to step it up!
14. Keep a smile on your face even when you don’t feel like it. Eventually, it’ll grow on you. A negative attitude will eat you up inside. No one will want to help you ore be around you.
15. To borrow from Shakespeare and Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To thine own self be true” and “Envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide.” Don’t kill yourself to be anyone else. Never sacrifice your values and morals to please others. Be you. Respect you. Love you.
16. Above all else, always remember that I am a support person for you and will help you in any way that I can. You know where to find me. Now go make me proud!