Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '97,
Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis or reliable then my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice....now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind: the kind that blindsides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts; don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive; forget the insults. (if you succeed in doing this, tell me how).
Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's.
Understand that friends come and go, but what a precious few should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps and geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse, but you never know when either one might run out.
But trust me, I'm the sunscreen.