Just like last year, prom for both schools came and went and left graduation upon us on its heals. Maybe it’s the nice weather we encountered in March that makes it feel as if summer is already here. But, whether parents are ready or not, the class of 2012 is almost ready to strike out on their own.
My high school graduation was May 25, 1979, my 18th birthday. Yes, I graduated and turned 18 all on the same day. I actually remember walking up the isle through the rows of the chairs to find my seat on stage where the lights glared at us along with the hundreds of people making it extremely hot! It felt like it took forever to walk that distance from one end of the gym to the other and onto the stage. With emotions on the surface, some had tears, some concealed giggles, but most of us were glad to say good-bye to our high school days. I know I sure was. Even as active as I was during high school with cheerleading, danceline, drama, choir, elementary student tutor and everything else that went along with being a senior, I was ready to say good-bye to my small hometown and get on with life in the big city of Willmar. (Funny it doesn’t seem so big now.)
When summer was over, Mom and Dad packed me in the car with the few things I was taking with me and off I went. Unlike my brothers who had a revolving door at home, once I moved away, I didn’t return except for the regular visits to see family.
Once on my own, it didn’t seem as easy as my dreams had me believing. I was responsible for all my own bills, which meant I needed to make enough money with grants, loans, work study and my part-time job to keep my head above water. Living on campus made it easy to walk to school every day and enjoy the college environment. At times, I will admit, I wish I could go back and do it again. I think my path would be a lot different.
To college students, traditional and non-traditional, I have this simple advice... make college an experience you will never regret and get the most out of your college classes. Regardless if you are footing the bill or your parents are, you cannot make up time when it is gone and an education is a priceless thing in today’s tough job market.
Thought for the week: You learn that, whatever you are doing in life, obstacles don’t matter very much. Pain or other circumstances can be there, but if you want to do a job bad enough, you’ll do it. – Jack Youngblood.