The Graduation Speech (I Wish I Had Given) – Part 3

By August 16th, 2014

Blog 47

August 16, 2014

Part 3 of Blog Essay

“Just When the Sky Turned Black

And The Wind Started To Howl –

The Graduation Speech (I Wish I Had Given)”

by Mack W. Borgen

Part 3.

 Author’s Note: Because of the length of this essay about The Graduation Speech (I Wish I Had Given), this essay has been presented in three sequential Blog postings: Blog 43 (Part 1 – Posted July 7, 2014); Blog 45 (Part 2 – Posted July 29, 2014), and now the final part — Blog 47 (Part 3 – June 3, 2014). Part of this essay is based upon a Personal Newsletter which I wrote about a number of years ago and I have here added the below some shared wisdoms of Bill Gates about the “Things They Don’t Teach You in School.” If you did not previously read the prior parts to this Blog Essay, you are of course invited to do so.

And so with the relaying of Dan Lynch’s fine words about life in the real world, I originally closed this essay about The Graduation Speech I Wish I Had Given. However, years later I came across a variant of this theme among a list of things they don’t teach you in school. The source of this list has a lengthy story of its own. It was frequently and for years attributed to Bill Gates complete with the where and when – in his supposed June, 2002 graduation speech at Whitney High School in Visalia, California – despite the fact that he never gave any speech in Visalia, California. For reasons wholly unknown, the list was attributed to Kurt Vonnegut and quoted multiple times (without even an attempt at attribution by Ann Landers). To the best of my knowledge, the list first appeared amidst Charles Sykes’ 2007 book 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School … Sykes is also the author of the 1996 book, Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why America’s Children Feel; Good About Themselves but Can’t Read, Write, or Add.” This is the most accurate which I can do at attribution. However, the rules remain intact and worthy even if the adults don’t know from where they came.


“The 11 Things They Don’t Teach You in School”

1 .Life is not fair …. Get used to it.

2 .The world will not care about your self-esteem. Paris Hilton and the Kardashian aside, the world usually will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.

3 . You will not make $65,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a corner office, a car and a driver, unless you earn them.

4 .If you think your teachers are hard, wait until you meet your bosses.

5. Flipping burgers, bussing dishes and mowing yards are not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a word those types of jobs — they called them opportunity.

6 . If you mess up, it’s not your parents fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes. Instead, learn from them.

7 .  Before you were born, your parents were not as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills cleaning your clothes, and listening to how cool you are. So before you save the rain forests from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

8 . Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life hasn’t. In some schools they have abolished failing grades, and they’ll give you as many times as you need to get the answer right. This does not bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.

9 . Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get Summers and Christmas breaks off. You don’t get a Spring Breaks and half-days, and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

10. Television is not real life. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to work. In real life almost nothing can get finished up in a 60-minute show.

11 . Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

 The End

Copyright @ 2014. Mack W. Borgen. All Rights Reserved. No part of this writing shall be reprinted without permission.

Mack W. Borgen, University of California at Berkeley (Honors in Economics), Harvard Law School,  Author, The Relevance of Reason – The Hard Facts and Real Data About the State of Current America  Book One – Business and Politics(July, 2013) (408 pp): First Runner-Up, Best Business Book of the Year– 2014 Los Angeles Book Festival Finalist (Political Science Category) – ForeWord Review’s 2013 National Book Contest

Author, The Relevance of Reason – Book Two – Society and Culture (October, 2013) (438 pp): Best Book of the Year – Popular Culture Category – Bronze Award  – ForeWord Review’s 2013 National Book Contest as Announced at June, 2014 Annual Convention of the American Library Association; Awarded Top 10% Finalist, Eric Hoffer 2014 Book Award

Available at,, and ask for these books at your local bookstores and libraries. Bookstores and academic and public libraries can obtain copies through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Quality Books, or Follett.

Your comments are always welcome and to inquire about business, politics, and popular culture speaking engagements with Mack W. Borgen, about The Relevance of Reason book events, or about future books by Mack W. Borgen, please email to Thank you.  

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