I had already been thinking about the end of the school year and words to share with graduating seniors when "a situation" occurred at my house the other night. My daughter was the director for a feature film that her class created as part of their senior capstone project. It's a huge undertaking, and she was thrilled to be selected to direct. Throughout the process, there have been some challenges, but we've looked at them as learning experiences. There are some things that no book or college class can teach, and the obstacles provided great real-world experience.
However, there becomes a point where people need to take responsibility for their actions and do the actual work--no excuses. At the end of every podcast, I ask my guest to list three traits that champions possess. This film production process has reminded me why dedication and work ethic are on my personal list.
In the real world, if you have a job and you don't fulfill the requirements of the job, you are fired. If you don't do the work, there is a consequence. So, why is it that we don't have the same expectations of students in a school setting? When students work on a group project, why do a few do the work for the entire group?
Coddling students who choose not to pull their weight doesn't help anyone. It doesn't teach them how to thrive once they get a job. Instead, it teaches them that if they slack, someone will always bail them out. Just like the students whose celebrity parents cheated to get them into colleges, these kids will enjoy perks they didn't work for.
In the case of the film, there were students who didn't complete their assigned tasks, and their classmates went without sleep to get the job done. Yet, the kids who didn't lift a finger will be the first to hop into the limo when it's time for the premiere party. They will be smiling on the red carpet, taking selfies like they played a major role. And they will see their name in the credits--for jobs they didn't do.
Listen to the full podcast to hear how this relates to Jane the Virgin, Five Feet Apart--and the podcast I published last week about Justin Baldoni. If you want to go places in life, you can't run from hard work. People will remember your dedication and your work ethic, and your reputation will put you in a position to always be a top job candidate.
The kids who went above and beyond to complete the feature film will always hold a special place in their classmates' hearts--and they will forever be remembered as reliable. If any of these kids' paths cross again in the future, there will be no question about who will be considered for a position and whose resumes will be tossed.
So this is what I’m thinking about as graduation approaches and high schoolers and college students move on to the next chapters of their lives.
Always be nice, be reliable, be that person others want to have around. Pull your weight, and do the job you've been tasked with. These tips, combined with your talent, perseverance and expertise will take you far in life!
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