Wear Sunscreen.

Hello Class!

This week we will be focusing a lot about writing advice. In these writing tasks, it is important to consider both your tone and audience. I’ve found another piece of writing from a column for you, an essay entitled “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”. It was written Mary Schmich for the Chicago Tribune and is most commonly known by the title Wear Sunscreen. It was set to music by Australian Director Baz Luhrmann (The guy who directed that adaption of The Great Gatsby with a film score by Jay-Z). We’re going to listen to this Baz Luhrmann version, but here is the original essay for you to look at. Tell me in the comments below about the tone and audience:

Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young

by Mary Schmich

“Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager to pontificate on life to young people who’d rather be Rollerblading. Most of us, alas, will never be invited to sow our words of wisdom among an audience of caps and gowns, but there’s no reason we can’t entertain ourselves by composing a Guide to Life for Graduates.

I encourage anyone over 26 to try this and thank you for indulging my attempt.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 more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. 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 bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

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.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

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.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.”

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9 Comments

  1. The piece is funny and it makes you think of your life. The writer uses short sentences to keep the readers attention. Since the audience is the youth, he uses things that are close to them to draw their attention eg ‘wear sunscreen’. The tone is very enthusiastic and confident, it makes you want to take the advise. The writer is very real, he talks about what people really go through.

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  2. The piece, as Nothixo highlighted is a very humorous one, firstly because of the tips pointed out, for example about flossing and the repetition of sunscreen at the end of the passage. The advice is not one you would expect from an adult and it’s very frank about certain experiences we go through in life. These are tips most parents would not normally give to their children although one would find it to be very helpful.

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  3. this is actually good advice because the writer know what they are talking about and especially where the writer talks about how ‘respect your elders” its good advice because this also links with how the saying in the bible says “respect your elders for your days on earth will be longer”. The tone used here shows us that the writer is very confident of what they are saying. I agree with Nothixo when she talks about how he uses short sentences to capture the readers attention because as we all know if you take time to get to the point, readers might actually lose interest in reading!

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  4. I really found this piece of writing encouraging, I especially liked it because it gave us a realistic picture of life in the future. He did not promise that it would be a walk in the park, but neither does he say that its going to be challenging. The language he uses starts a fire within and makes you feel like you can experience everything in this world. He is also very positive and quite hopeful, and pushes us to take risks,”Do one thing every day that scares you.” The picture he paints in this speech not only tells you about the future but prepares you for it.

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  5. this encourages people whose lives are not in order. This writer gives people a picture of how life is. The advice given is quite realistic for example “Don’t expect anyone else to support you” because in other words it shows people that one has to stand for themselves.

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