For all the kids graduating from school and going to college
My Facebook feed is suddenly awash with pictures of glowing teenagers in gossamer gowns and sharp suits, their faces catching the light, with smiles full of hope and dreams and expensive dentistry. The young ladies are delicately graceful and elegant, and the dapper gentlemen seem relaxed and confident, occasional pictures of corsages and lapel roses giving the illusion of old world chivalry and courtship. One can almost forget that just days before the same people were sharing graphic memes and snap chatting burns.
To all of you, all I want to say is congratulations for surviving the brutality of high school and the very best wishes for whatever it is you plan to do next. I mean, college. I’m sure you already have collected enough “wisdom” from your parents and unkils and aaantys and chachaji and mausi and phupha and bua. Your grandparents have whispered emotional words and your principal has begged you to not embarrass the school (if you get caught, say you are from some other school).
My little contribution to the general advice giving (and I’m sorry, I know you’ve probably had enough but I can’t help it, I’m a desi aunty, and it’s in my jeans, my dna, my tears) is this: Don’t be stupid! Yes, I used the “S” word, it’s apparently much worse in the US than in India but I think it’s appropriate here.
You know what I mean. Enough people have said it to you. Enough TV programs have been built around it. More than enough cautionary tales are in the media. Please, please, please don’t be stupid! Use the information you have.
Don’t drive if you know you are drunk or otherwise impaired. Its just stupid.
Don’t try drugs you know are addictive. It’s just stupid.
Don’t stay in a bad situation just because you don’t want to seem like a wuss. It’s just stupid.
Don’t be scared to ask for help because you think you will get in trouble. It’s just stupid.
Don’t engage in risky behavior, and gamble on your future (health and financial prospects, you know what I’m saying). It’s just stupid.
If you take a risk, take a moment to calculate the odds, if you don’t know, ask or google it. Don’t take a risk without knowing the potential downside. It’s just stupid.
Don’t underestimate your own gut feeling, it isn’t just intuition. It’s a combination of subconscious information and perceptions. Don’t ignore your instincts. It’s just stupid.
The human brain is usually geared more to avoid pain and danger than to strive for happiness, except for this time in your life. You will never ever again be this ready to try new things or work towards your goals. So, yes, go ahead. You will try to fly, just carry a parachute somewhere.
Oh, and be kind to your parents. And Auntys. We were your age about twenty years ago, and it was a different world. There were no iPhones and twittering presidents. Some of us had nothing but dinosaur eggs to play with, and were dutiful offspring, getting centums and never ever talking to other sex except in respectful averted tones. We evolved from that era to this and frankly, it scares us. And you are living embodiments of eighteen years of our emotions, earnings, and effort. Be kind.
And please, don’t be stupid.
Best of luck!!!!! You all look so amazing!

Advice to graduating kids
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