A few points to ponder upon graduation


Summer is nearly here. School is out or getting out real soon. Seniors are graduating. Time moves so quickly.

It was 39 years ago last Friday that my graduating class took to the Newton High School football field just east of here on Highway 80. There were about 100 of us that earned our diplomas that year. We thought that a pretty big class.

As senior class president, I had the  honor of welcoming our friends and families to the ceremony. It seems to me that the stands were packed with people. Memories fade though.

Our group of seniors were definitely packed with pride, eager to snatch up our diplomas and gather later for a graduation dance. In the wee hours of the morning some of us aimed our cars for Florida and a week of sun and fun.

These days it is more likely Mexico or some exotic island, but Panama City and the Barney Gray Motel was exotic enough for us in 1979.

For myself, and I’m sure all of my classmates, there’s been a lot of learning in the past 39 years. More outside the classroom than in!

Everything has changed since we tossed our hats high into the air that night. The world has changed. That’s why it is difficult to try and give advice on post high school.

I can, however, mention a few things that I feel are important and all you seniors out there can take it for what you think it is worth.

First, never forget how to laugh. Laughter is indeed the best medicine.

Enjoy life. You only get one chance.

Remember that college is important. The freshman year is very important. You fool around then and you’ll spend the next three trying to make up the grades. That’s experience talking there!

Stay in school and earn a minimum of a master’s degree. Once you’re out, it is terribly hard to go back and a bachelor’s degree just isn’t enough in today’s world.

Socialize in college. Not too much, but get outside your comfort zone, you’ll meet friends for life, maybe even a spouse if you’re lucky. I was lucky.

Try not to spend any more money in a given weekend than you are sure you can afford.

Get to know your professors and advisors. They can be very influential when you’re looking for a job.

Choose a major you like and stick with it. You don’t want to waste valuable credits that won’t transfer or don’t apply.

Take some fun and interesting courses. Philosophy was not fun to me, but it was required. Graduate level communication courses were fun to me.

After you’ve finished college, find a job you like, work hard and stick with it. Don’t think anyone owes you anything. You get what you earn and you earn what you get. Don’t be lazy.

Don’t whine about your job. Don’t think you know more than everyone else. Don’t argue with your boss even if you do have a better answer. Remember who signs your paycheck.

Get married to the girl or boy of your dreams.

Don’t have children right away. Spend some time with yourself and your spouse. Get to know each other. Become friends.

Travel if you can.

Bathe in an icy mountain stream on a mountain top in Colorado.

Drive a fast car fast, once, just for the thrill.

Experiment with exotic foods.

Have a kid or two.

Take your family out to eat. Those kids will be grown and gone before you know it.

Don’t watch too much television.

Laugh some more.

Watch your weight and physical condition. Taking vitamins helps.

Have a hobby.

Grow a garden.

Buy a nice house in a neighborhood you love, or way out in the country away from everything.

Make some investments for the future.

Buy a life insurance policy.

Don’t worry about the hair in the shower drain. Nothing lasts forever.

Have friends over for dinner. Send the kids to the grandparents or a sitter and have a bit of adult time.

Laugh hard.

Sing along with the radio, or better yet, make up your own songs. You don’t have to be able to carry a tune.

Hug your children. Listen to what they are saying even when you are very busy.

Go fishing.

Visit your parents and grandparents on a regular basis.

Live life to the fullest, strive to be your best while helping and caring for your friends and neighbors and no one should ask any more of you.

Prepare yourself for the pain and sadness that comes with the loss of a loved one, for you are destined to experience that more than once.

For now, though, celebrate. Enjoy the summer. But before you go to bed tonight tell your folks you love them and thank them for helping you get  this far. Then laugh yourself to sleep before having to wake up to the real world.