Congratulations Candace

Congratulations

Candace Elizabeth McTeer

High School Graduation

And Admission to the Honors Program

George Mason University

"Way to Go Girl"

Advice Follows

Advice for Candace

Regarding college, don't be in a hurry. I rushed through and later wondered why. Relax, explore, and savor.

Don't commit to a major before you have to. One great thing about being young and a freshman is the number of options that are still open. Try different fields, test different waters. Go as wide as possible before going deep.

Follow your "likes" rather than your "ought to's" as far as you can without jeopardizing your scholarship.

Don't think about work and a career too soon, but, when you do, follow your passion rather than the money. The money will follow you if you are doing what you love.

Know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. (This advice is useless, of course, but it made a nice song.)

Remember the butterfly flapping its wings and affecting outcomes around the world.

Remember that each decision you make affects your future options and decisions far beyond what people usually consider. Your choice of universities, for example, has already determined a large pool from which your future friends will come and excluded alternative pools of future friends. Your choice has also ruled out many unlucky potential future husbands that you will never meet and increased the odds for other lucky candidates that you will meet. Of course, the same fork in the road affects who your children will be, what they will look like, and whether they are potential winners of a basketball scholarship.

Not that I want to hear of any talk about husbands for a long, long time.

As you have noted by now, there is a huge random element involved in these decision chains and you really can't know what's in your alternative futures. All you can do is shift the probabilities slightly in your favor by doing what you've been doing-working hard, studying hard, and not spending much time with those in the shallow end of the gene pool. I suspect you can do this, even while working and studying a little less hard and playing more, which I recommend.

As you have your ups and downs, remember that we don't always know which is which at the time. So, don't take either your wins or your losses too seriously-especially your losses. My favorite example of not knowing which is which is when Waylon Jennings "lost" his seat on Buddy Holly's chartered airplane the night the music stopped. Richie Valens and the Big Bopper thought they had "won" that night. You never know, so enjoy your apparent successes and don't take the losses too hard. And stay out of small airplanes in bad weather.

I suspect you don't even know who those guys in the plane crash were. You came along after the roll left rock and roll. What a shame. But that's what You Tube is for. Humor me, and spend some time on You Tube lost in the fifties and early sixties. Start with the boogie woogie piano trio featuring Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Fats Domino. Then go to Linda Ronstadt, especially Blue Bayou. Some day I'll lend you my DVD of Elvis's 1968 Comeback Special if you ask me to.

Do you remember the night several years ago that we took you and your family to Billy Joe Shaver's 60th Birthday Party concert in Austin? Come to Texas occasionally and we'll do something like that again.

Do you suppose The Republic of Texas would qualify in your study-abroad program? Don't rule it out.

Don't rule anything out.

Comments (2)

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  1. Sue says:

    This advice arrives many, many years late, but I am sure some young men and women will benefit enormously from the advice.

  2. Zeta says:

    I feel you provided a very good iidsner view of how our health system worked. I also had a view, not altogether different from you, but that as the patient you were referring to. My first few hours in emergency could have turned out far worse than was indeed the case. Knowing that you and the girls were there gave me my first wave of optimism in case things went sideways. However, after listening to the staff talk to you and to others, that also gave me another boost in confidence as these people were truly professional and we were all fighting together to make sure I got to the next “station”. Over the next four days, I saw a wide variety of staff ranging from my nurses and doctors who dealt with me daily, to those who undertook tests and pushed me through corridors. Each and every person showed me the sort of respect and courtesy you could only hope for in everyday life outside of the hospital. We have all read stories, both in your columns and in our local newspapers, about how the health system is not keeping up to demand, but let me assure you, it is not the front line professionals who are keeping us back. We are extremely fortunate to have such individuals and they deserve our credit and support in spite of the bureaucrats and politicians who continue to make their lives difficult. Lastly, thank you to you and the girls for being there!