Some “Advice” for Graduating Seniors in 2022

I was going to write a column of advice for 2022 graduating seniors. I thought I was uniquely positioned to do so; after all, one of those graduating seniors is my own daughter. And I’ve been on earth for almost half a century—surely I have some words of wisdom to impart!

Young woman in park in navy blue prom dress
Senior prom ’22

And then I stalled out. What can I tell this generation that they don’t already know? They’re already more empathetic and worldly than I was back when I graduated from high school, before the turn of the century.

I asked my friends on Facebook for advice and I did get some gems:

  • “Vote.”
  • “Do no harm.”
  • “Do things you are passionate about.”
  • “Don’t get too tripped up on mistakes or supposed failures. Everything is a lesson. You learn those lessons and move on and keep going.”
  • “Everyone is making it up as they go along. Learn to trust yourself. Follow your own instincts/heart/gut.”
  • “Don’t spend too much for college.”
  • “If there are times when it feels like you really don’t “got this,” don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are lots of people who love you and want to be there for you in whatever way you need.”

I also got several responses advising the class of 2022 to wear sunscreen, and a suggestion from the 1989 movie Say AnythingThese responses made me wonder if perhaps the best advice for this class is “Don’t ask Gen X for advice.”

Young woman at desk with laptop

My senior was taking AP U.S. History (“APUSH”) her sophomore year, 2019/2020. You probably remember that the kids went home for spring break that year and then just never went back to school. The people in charge of AP U.S. History decided to end the teaching/testing at World War II that year, which means my daughter’s academic knowledge of history ends in 1945. Ironic, really, since history was of course happening all around her in 2020 and beyond. A deadly worldwide pandemic? Racial injustice? Threats from Russia? Sure, bring it on. 

Young girl in front of tree with lunchbox
First day of kindergarten. Wasn’t she cute?

The class of 2022 has learned to adapt quickly to change. To be empathetic to the needs of others. To be resilient.

These are the skills that will help them shape their own futures. Nothing I could say would teach them more than what they have already learned from the school of life—even if they did attend some of that from their bedroom.

You really do “got this” class of ’22. Please know that all of us at Iowa City Moms are so proud of you. Congratulations, and welcome to the next chapter of your lives.

Sharon Falduto is a Central Iowa native who came to University of Iowa in 1991 and essentially never left the area. She is involved in local community theater, notably as one of the co-founders of Iowa City's Dreamwell Theatre. She has also directed children's plays with the Young Footliters group. Sharon works in with English Language Learners in a support position at Kirkwood Community College.. She lives in Coralville with her husband, Matt, and three daughters Rachel, Samantha, and Piper.

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