This article first appeared on the Beyond.com website on July 30, 2013.
College graduation is one of the more memorable moments of a person’s life. Parents beam with pride, thrilled with the knowledge they can at last begin to save for retirement. Many graduates, those who have accomplished good grades and academic honors, see their futures as best expressed by Buzz Lightyear in the movie “Toy Story”: “To infinity and beyond!” Others console themselves with the words of our 43rd president, George W. Bush, in his 2001 commencement address at the Yale University: “And to the ‘C’ students, I say you too may one day be President of the United States.”
While graduation marks the end of one period of your life, it is also the beginning of a much longer period of achievements, failures, triumphs, and disappointments. What you make of your life and the path you choose are measures of your values and integrity; in the words commonly attributed to another president, Theodore Roosevelt, “A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car, but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” Con man or corporate mogul, the choice is up to you, but your decision will be easier if you understand and master the role that money will play in your future.