MARTY RUSSELL: Real-world advice for college grads

By Marty Russell

Oddly enough, another commencement season is upon us and for yet another year, I have not been asked to deliver a commencement address. This is baffling considering some of the speakers chosen by respectable universities and colleges around the country. Of course, respectable is a relative term but when you consider that folks like Oprah, Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish), Josh Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Cal Ripken have been asked to deliver commencement addresses this year, you’d think I’ at least get an invite to deliver an online speech to an online university somewhere.
Oh, well, maybe next year but that isn’t going to stop me from imparting my advice to you young graduates and even those of you finally finishing up your seven, eight or nine years of college.
First, it’s a tough world out there. No matter what your field of study you are likely going to have a tough time landing that first job. Even older and more experienced folks like your parents are finding it hard to find work these days. So do my generation a favor. Go to grad school so the rest of us can find a job.
Secondly, know that the real world is nothing like college. People actually expect you to do something in return for money in the real world. You can’t just sit around getting drunk all day or spending eight straight hours in front of a gaming console and expect to get paid for it. Unless, of course, you’re Lindsay Lohan or get a job working for the military’s drone program.
And realize that technology is changing at a blinding pace and you have to keep up. Believe it or not but when you get to be my age, that smartphone you think today is so wonderful and so indispensable that you can’t even be bothered to look up from it when crossing a street full of bus traffic will be the equivalent of a stone tablet and a chisel in a few years. Of course, by then you’ll just be a head in a jar with some electrodes attached.
Finally, don’t fret so much about how much debt you’ve run up during your college years with student loans and gambling losses from betting on your school’s sports teams. That will all soon appear to be a pittance compared to mortgages and paying for your own kids’ education.
And, on a more personal note, don’t invest a lot of your hard-earned money into material things. Nobody cares how fancy a car you drive or how big your house is. If you’re going to invest in something, put it into head jar and electrode manufacturing.
Now, go forth and multiply. Except for those of you who failed college algebra three times and only finally passed by promising your professor you’d never go into anything that had to do with math. You should stick to adding and subtracting.
MARTY RUSSELL writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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