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OUR VIEW: Word of advice for recent graduates

We just watched hundreds of local graduates cross the stage and move on to the next part of their lives, and every year it has a great impact on us. When you see all the graduation caps and gowns, the degrees being handed out and speeches, it’s hard not to reflect back to that same point in your own life, isn’t it?

At 18, we all have big dreams. We’re all going to go out and change the world, live our dreams, marry the perfect partner and live in a big house with plenty of money. Oh, but life doesn’t work that way, does it?

To the graduates who just finished high school, we’ll start by saying congratulations. Some of you will be heading off to work immediately, others will head to college or the military. No matter what you choose, make sure you choose something.

As Dr. Seuss says in “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” don’t get stuck in the waiting place. “Don’t get stuck “waiting for a train to go or a bus to come or a plane to go or the mail to come or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a yes or no or waiting for their hair to grow.”

As Dr. Seuss so eloquently puts it, waiting is a terrible thing. Instead, we encourage you to make things happen — control what you can control. Take the enthusiasm and energy you have now and put it toward achieving your goals, one day at a time.

Don’t think for a second that you can’t accomplish something.

But again, know that life is going to be stressful. However, these next few years are some of the best — and least stressful — of your life. Whether you go to college or not, you’ll find when reflecting that the big test you have — or the big assignment at work you have coming up — aren’t really that big of a deal when put against the test of time. Yes, you need to study and you need to work hard, but as the old saying goes, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.

High school has prepared you for most of the world’s challenges, but life itself can often throw you curveballs. Think you have everything figured out? That’s when something breaks or when it rains on a sunny day where you didn’t bring an umbrella. Or when something is rescheduled to a bad time. Or your child gets sick on a day where you’ve got a big assignment.

Life will certainly keep you on your toes, so we’d say be prepared, but that’s impossible for these types of curveballs. Instead, we’ll say to be ready to evolve, adjust, and mold yourself to be whatever that particular day needs.

That’s what successful people are able to do better than anyone.

In your 20s, where all of you will be shortly, you think you have everything figured out, and it’s okay to feel that way. Maybe you do have most things figured out. We hope you do.

But more than likely you don’t, so we also encourage you — and we mean this nicely — to stop talking and listen more times than not. People older than you might not be able to send a tweet, but they could probably run circles around you right now in your chosen profession.

That’s enough advice for now. More than anything, we want to say that we always really enjoy covering all of the local high school graduations.

As a community newspaper, we watched all of you grow up and many of you have probably been pictured in the newspaper at some point over the years. Maybe it was a community Easter egg hunt, a school project, a kindergarten graduation, a high school honor, a sporting event — but chances are we’ve featured you in some way over the years.

So, we were extremely happy to see all of you cross the stage this year, especially after seeing graduations so impacted last year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We wish you all of the luck in the world as you go out and chase your dreams. Whatever you want to do in this life, you can probably accomplish if you put your mind to it, so best of luck to all of you.