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Some advice for Franklin’s graduating seniors

Published 6:00am Saturday, May 19, 2012

By this time next week, all the graduating seniors in all the schools in our area will have received their diplomas and many will have set off for fun and memorable senior trips, so I thought I would take this opportunity to wish them well and dispense some of the wisdom I have acquired in my short 25 years.

The first bit of wisdom will be directed at the senior trip many of you will no doubt be taking.

I know most of you have already been warned (and re-warned) by your parents to be safe, be careful and be responsible, but maybe you will actually listen to someone who’s only a few years older than you…

Be safe, be careful and be responsible!

A senior trip can be a very memorable experience if done the right way.

When I graduated from high school, I went with several friends and two friends’ moms on a cruise to Mexico.

We had the best time without ever having to drink alcohol, smoke anything that shouldn’t be smoked, take pills that can’t be purchased over the counter or engage in any behavior that would have landed us a spot on the next Girls Gone Wild video.

Just remember that while something might seem like a good idea at the time, think about the bigger picture and not the moments immediately ahead of you.

Make good decisions that will make you proud of yourself later and not embarrassed that you acted like a complete fool.

Secondly, enjoy yourselves this summer. Whether you have a part-time job, a full-time job or parents that still support you, try to fit in time to do some of the carefree things that you have enjoyed the past four years of high school.

College will still be a fun time in your life, but there is a measure of responsibility attached to college that you haven’t yet experienced as a high school student, so enjoy the last couple of months of “being a kid.”

Albeit a responsible kid, as I have previously discussed.

Thirdly, in between having a good, carefree time this summer, spend some time with your family, especially your parents.

You know, those people who raised you for the last 18 years.

Some of you will be staying close to home for college and some of you will be moving a few hours away, but whether you’re just down the road going to class or you’re four hours away, your college experience will take up a good bit of your time.

Classes, papers, assignments, activities, projects, studying, exams.

Once you jump into college life this August, you won’t have as much time for your family like you did when you were in high school, so take time this summer to let your family know how much they mean to you.

Go to the movies with your mom. Go fishing with your dad.

Have a family game night and let your little brother win.

This may seem like a lame-o thing to do the summer before you become a big college guy/girl, but trust me, you’ll appreciate spending this quality time with them later on.

And last but not least, a little wisdom for your college experience because that is the route I chose and the one I can mostly aptly speak on:

College is really what you make of it and I’m going to tell you a secret many high school grads completely forget once they step foot on campus and are met with an overload of new experiences and people.

The secret to college is… balance. Plain and simple. You shouldn’t be out partying every single night, but you shouldn’t be in front of a computer studying 24 hours a day either.

Get involved in your college experience – join some clubs, test out the Greek life waters if that’s for you, go to sporting events and support the team, make new friends and go hang out at the coffee shop, become buddies with the guys in your dorm and have Xbox tournaments.

Whatever you enjoy, there are probably 20 other people around who enjoy the same thing, so there will always be something for you to go and do that will be fun.

But then there’s also a time to put aside the fun and bring out that responsible word I was talking about when I first stated this rambling column of advice.

PRIORITIZE. Get a planner for your school activities. Write down assignment due dates, dates of tests, dates that projects and assignments are due.

Get ahead with your work if you can. Participate in class and really take advantage of the opportunity to learn new things.

Take the classes you need and use your elective hours to take some classes that interest you like photography, painting, voice or the history of combat in world wars.

I’ve met several of you this past year in the course of the weekly Franklin’s Future articles I do and I know most of you have a good head on your shoulders.

But we all need a little help and a little encouragement from time to time, and I hope the few things I’ve said will be an encouragement to you in the months and years to come.

Good luck, Class of 2012, in all your future pursuits whether it’s college, trade school or the workforce.

I will leave you with a few more wise words from my favorite author, Dr. Seuss, in his book Oh, the Places You’ll Go!:

“Congratulations! Today is your day! You’re off to great places!

You’re off and away! You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own.

And you know what you know.

And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

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