Stupid things we do

We have all done stupid things in our lives which we regret. I know that personally I have lost count over my lifetime of the number of times I have had to apologize for things I have done or said.

The worst was as a kid when my mother made me go and apologize to another adult for saying stupid things or throwing a rock on their roof or jumping through the fence to eat peaches off the trees of our neighboring farm. In most of those instances the consequences were fairly benign and it was only between a few people and life went on without any major change.

The internet has changed a lot of that. Now anything we do or say on social media or online anywhere, even if we delete it, leaves a permanent record out there for everyone to see or find, even decades later. 10 students who had been accepted to  Harvard University found that out the hard way as reported “Harvard revokes admission of several students” this week.

Whether it is a student applying to a university, a person applying for a job, or someone running for congress or president, everything that we have submitted online will become part of our permanent record in the future. Sometimes we are proud of our political biases, our off-color comments about other people or our sarcasm of certain situations. All of these might come back to bite us in the future if we post them online.

Twenty years from now we might be nominated to be on a board, recommended for a promotion, nominated to be a judge, or have to recuse ourselves from some situation because of when we were young, inexperienced, not thinking correctly or just being downright stupid (as we all can be sometimes)

My hope is that these 10 students will learn from this experience, be contrite, apologize sincerely to whoever necessary, and then move on to become model citizens of our country. Perhaps this lesson will be able to be used to teach future students of the consequences of the choices we make in life. What they did might not have been criminal, but will certainly be on their permanent record.

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Dave Coen RICP® is CEO of College Planning America and Registered Representative at SageView Advisory
Tel: 714-813-1703