You should be really proud of your high school graduate.
Being a teenager sucks, and high school (and middle school) sucks sometimes, too.
Making it across the stage to get that diploma is a huge accomplishment, and it's something that thousands of Mississippi Gulf Coast students will achieve in May.
Tassles will be turned. Selfies will be taken. Tears will be shed.
But there's one (often forgotten) life lesson that all teenagers should know before leaving home to pursue a career or higher education at college: Tip your servers and bartenders 20 percent.
I worked as a food industry employee and server for five years while I got a bachelor's degree. I now work as a bartender and restaurant manager super part-time as a side hustle.
And I can tell you that as someone who had never worked as a server before, I had no idea how to tip properly when I moved off to college by myself.
I learned quick.
Tipping well is necessary for several reasons — most servers and bartenders make just above $2/hour, so your generosity decides their paycheck. Also, leaving a good tip shows you had a great experience and value the service you received.
20 percent is the industry standard, but I personally don't believe in tipping less than $5.
I was that high schooler. I didn't have experience in the service industry, my parents often paid when I went to a restaurant, and when I paid, I typically chose Subway because it was cheaper. I remember going over budget at a restaurant once and only tipping $1. I still regret that. Sorry, friendly Waffle House employee. You've taught me more than you know.
As a server, I've also been tipped in prayer cards, loose pocket change, and notes about how they thought the food was too expensive.
For those parents who have already taught their kids how to tip, you are rock stars.
And if you need help explaining the importance of tipping to your graduating senior or sophomore who just got a car, just ask your server during your next family meal at a restaurant.