Just some advice for the Class of 2010

Published 11:22 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

Many students walked across their respective stages last night, grabbing their high school diploma before a brief handshake with their principals and, later, a hug from their parents. Others will take those same steps next week.

Most of us have been there. I was there 12 years ago.

My trip through high school was one I should have taken more seriously. I was a “decent” student, but had more potential and aptitude than I liked to display. I carried those traits with me into college for a little while before I eventually realized it was time to get serious.

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My education was costing my dad a small fortune and my playing around with it was, at the very least, disrespectful.

Don’t get me wrong. College is supposed to be fun and the world is not going to end if you ditch one math class for an impromptu game of Frisbee golf, but college, much like life, is all about priorities.

So, as our local graduates look toward Phase II of their lives, I’d like to offer some advice to you college-bound students from someone who has been where you are and knows what you may be thinking:

Declare a major. You can change your major just about anytime you want to. And there’s no penalty. Setting a course for your future is an important step. If you need to change course, it’s not a big deal. These words of wisdom brought to you by a former engineering major.

Ask somebody. Have you always wanted to be a banker because you think the hours are great? Ask Charles Singleton, Olen Kerby, Al Garrett, Mike Evans or Ann Yelverton about the daily challenges they face. Same goes for doctors. Think that’s a million dollar job where you set your own hours? Ask Dr. Chu or any nurse what their schedule is like. You’ll find that all of the people above enjoy their jobs but each probably have “one of those days” every now and again.

Get a job. Even with a college degree, you’ll probably be someone’s employee before you’re someone’s boss. It’s best to iron the bugs out in that system early. Learning to work with people is as important as your college education.

Get uncomfortable. You’re going to meet a lot of people whose lifestyle choice, religion or whatever else is way beyond your comfort zone. You don’t have to agree with it, but you should make an effort to understand it.

Your college experience is what you make of it. For your own sake, hit the books and study hard. But, also for your own sake, have some fun while the books are closed. Get out and meet new people.

Congratulations to the Class of 2010 and best of luck to you and your future, college or career bound.

Jason Cannon is publisher of the Demopolis Times.