Just to think that only a year and a half ago the majority of the whole world had never heard of the Black Shoe Diaries' Bill DiFilippo. It's hard to forget the day that Bill DiFilippo joined the staff of the Black Shoe Diaries. It was a rainy December 21st day, the sky was bleak, clouds prevented the suns' favor from reaching the ground in State College for the entire day. It was a very sucky day, but we got through it once the wind died down a little bit. And Bill became a regular contributor on BSD on that cold, windy, crappy December day as well.
Over a year and three days ago, on May 9th 2013, Christopher Nicholas 'Nick' Polak joined the staff of the BSD. His tenure at BSD has been marked with blatant abuses of power and the use of pseudonyms. The Seattle Seahawks have become regular points of reference in our east-coast forum, but yet we are better for it.
Either of these two fine young gentlemen and recent PSU graduates would make for a good hire now that they are finished with their studies. When most of us were in college we were too busy getting in to trouble, experimenting with drugs in a non-laboratory setting or making sex tapes. Bill and Nick have forgone these short-lived gratifications for a more serious path as Black Shoe Diaries staff writers. Taking the BSD staff writer oath of celibacy was probably easier for Bill and Nick than it would be for most of us, but it is still admirable. The dedication, planning, and consistency that is needed to both complete a college degree at PSU and also find the time to write stories pondering which superhero would be the best pick for our football team is considerable.
Perhaps it is fitting to have a former PSU web logger and PSU alumnus deliver this very important 2014 BSD Commencement Speech. During my days in State College there were no blogs, only web logs. It wouldn't be for nearly a decade later that blogs became popular, and little by little the web logs disappeared. Back in my days at PSU when we laughed out loud we actually laughed out loud. In Philosophy 101 they posed the question, 'If you were alone in your house and you laughed out loud while making no sound, would anyone hear it?' In those days the answer was obviously 'no' but that has changed in modern times. The times were much different then. It wasn't cool to play chess, but you were not cool unless you shopped at Chess King. When we got bullied it was in person not via satellite, the black eye that we wore for the days following described our feelings succinctly. When our parents asked us how we felt about the incident, we would say that we felt like our eye is swollen, and everyone went on with their life.
As time passes the world around us changes but the feeling of completing your degree at the Pennsylvania State University remains unchanged. There are few if any clearer forks in the road of life that we face than that of completing your college education. In some regards there is truly only one path forward from this point...work.
The saying goes that if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life. Confucius or some other smart guy said that a long time ago, and it remains true many years later in this post-web log era that we now live. What they don't tell you is that you probably won't be able to secure that particular job immediately once you leave college. It may take a while to get to that job. There will likely be only one true way to get from where you are to being in the job that you love so much that it is not work: work. Lots of work. Hard work. Fun work. Crappy work. Work that makes no sense at the time in the bigger scheme of things. Work that you are surprised to enjoy, work that you thought that you would enjoy but then realized that you were wrong once you tried it. The key to reaching your goals is putting in the work, every day, always. Work harder than anyone else and be proud of your work even if it isn't the job that you love so much that it isn't work.
Earning money is something that we non-royalty types have to do in order to live the lives that we desire. Jobs. Work. Money. It is what you make it. It's a good idea to remember to do everything with a positive attitude whether you are enjoying yourself at your current work or not. Be the type of person who others remember after encountering you along their way through an otherwise ordinary day. When someone is taking longer in the check-out line in front of you than is normal, and they look back to apologize, mean it when you tell them that it is no problem and that you are in no hurry. Make time for the people who you come in contact with during the day, and always treat them as though their time is more valuable than your own. Look for ways to help someone, even if it is just holding a door open for them, every single day and don't be afraid to double or triple up if the day provides the opportunity.
Remember that the idea of attaining success with honor is as real as the option of attaining success while being a total douche bag. The choice is yours on how you will carry yourself through the 70 or so years of your life that you likely have remaining to fill now that your days as a PSU student are over. That choice will reflect on your family, your PSU family, and all of those who are connected to you in any meaningful way. Find a way to help people when there is no tangible reward for your efforts. Keep your philanthropic efforts to yourself and those who receive the benefits of your kindness. Unselfish, anonymous acts of kindness are where the intangible rewards of life will be found.
Now you are a Penn State alumnus! Your wallet and belly should expand exponentially from this point forward. Your biggest monetary goal should be to have some money. Avoid debt. Pay off any debt you may have. Let people pay you interest, not the other way around. Delay gratification on purchases and pay with saved money. Don't pay interest on cheeseburgers. Don't have a car payment for 60 of the next 70 years of your life and put that interest money that you saved in a pile that gives you security when unexpected events occur.
On this very special occasion of delivering the official BSD Commencement Speech I call on other BSD readers to aid in guiding Bill and Nick through this transitional period of their lives. Hopefully skaroksoi, readingrambler, world b fat and others can add some fatherly advice in areas that this speech has overlooked.