Don’t be afraid to try

Published 12:09 pm Friday, May 18, 2012

This week many high school seniors begin their journey into “the real world.”

The real world. I hate that term.

It cheapens the 13 years of experience and dedication our students have poured into their studies. Those baker’s dozen years were very real and were not easy.

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However, it’s hard to overlook that the years ahead will not offer the structure and protection of those behind you.

Your schedule won’t be as predictable. Your lunches won’t be ready for you in a clearly defined and regular time.

The world these students have known is very much real. But so are the changes that world is about to experience.

It’s part of growing up.

You few hundred high school seniors have probably gotten all the advice you can stand over the past few months. Your parents, grandparents, friends and “Weird Uncle Joe” all offer some sage advise. They’ve been where you are. They know the potential pitfalls and they want to help you avoid them.

With that in mind, I can’t offer you much more.

What I can do is tell you something most of those who love you will not.

Don’t be afraid to try.

Over the course of your entire life, your family’s sole responsibility aside from loving you and keeping you healthy is to do their absolute best to keep you from failing at anything; from tee ball to geometry.

That’s what makes family great.

Now that you’re about to branch further from that network of security, you begin to shoulder greater responsibility. With that comes the fear of failure, and usually a lack of trying.

I’m not talking about bombing out of freshman English next semester. That’s a different kind of failure and is largely preventable, although you will have to bear the responsibility of doing the work.

I’m talking about going outside your comfort zone and challenging yourself.

Only you can define what that means to you.

Maybe it’s joining a social group made up a group with an eclectic background. Maybe it means working a back-breaking manual labor job over the summer.

The decisions you make over the next several years will steer you through the rest of your life. You owe to it yourself to base the decisions you make on the experiences that you have.

Challenge yourself by trying something new, something different and, sometimes, uncomfortable.

You’ll never know what your full potential is until you’ve pushed yourself to your limits.

Congratulations, seniors. I hope your journey over the next few years is informative, challenging and rewarding.