Archived Story

Time flies when it’s your last year of high school

Published 5:59am Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another year of high school football has come and gone as the 10-week regular season of 2012 came to a close Friday night.

Only two teams in Franklin County made the playoffs and have games yet to play; Russellville and Red Bay.

The seniors on these two teams have staved off the end of the season for at least one more week, but nothing in this life is guaranteed.

The vast majority of the seniors from around the county will never play organized football again.

That is just an ugly fact of life. I should know, because after three years of playing my favorite sport I was left standing on the sideline watching the younger kids play another year.

From what I have gathered over my year of working for The Franklin County Times, it does not seem like many of the student-athletes I cover read most of my stories, much less an editorial on the opinion page.

I encourage anyone reading this that has senior children or grandchildren that are one semester away from high school graduation to have those young men and women read this article, or at least discuss the information with them.

What makes me qualified to pass on this information? Because six short years ago I went through the exact same thing.

If anyone other than the adults are reading at this point, I encourage you to discuss your future plans with your parents if you have not already.

Receiving a quality education after high school is becoming more and more important in this day and age.

Some of the student-athletes I cover do not realize that it took a four-year degree for me to earn my position here.

I did not become Sports Editor simply because I was around and I liked to write about sports. I spent two years at Bevill State Community College in Jasper working on my basic courses before transferring to UNA to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. There was certainly a time when having such a degree was unnecessary to write at a newspaper, but those times in large have changed.

If you are unsure of what to do with your future, discuss it with your parents. They only want what’s best for you after all.

Figure out what makes you happy or something you like to do that either is a profession or will lead to one, and do whatever it takes to achieve those goals.

If you decide to join the military, discuss it with your parents first, and if you reach the decision that you want to serve the country, do your research first, find out which branch is right for you, and go from there.

If you do not want to go to college immediately, take a year off. This is a slippery slope, however, as anyone who intends to further their education  but does not attend college right away has a less likely chance of going back to school the longer they stay out.

If you have decided to continue your education right away, make sure you attend the college that fits your needs. You do not have to attend Alabama or Auburn just because that’s who you root for on Saturday afternoons in the fall.

But hey, if they offer the major you are looking for and have a good program, knock yourself out.

I recommend that everyone attending college after high school graduation go to a community college first.

There are a few simple reasons for this.  The first is that there are a few community colleges just a few miles from most homes in Franklin County.

Students can attend college for the first two years while probably being able to stay at home. You will save a LARGE amount of money if you attend a community college for the first two years.

You will not have to live away from home just yet, and you will probably be able to keep your high school job while attending the CC, so you do not have to go through the trouble of finding a new one.

Community colleges are relatively cheap compared to any four-year, and the cost works on almost any budget.They also offer plenty of scholarships, so be sure to find one and apply. CCs are also very aware of what they are doing, and they usually have guides and programs that tell you what basic classes to take en route to your major and profession.

Another little secret is, aside from who teaches the course, basics classes are the same anywhere you go. My roommate in college once listened to a freshman year lecture from a basics course taught at Harvard.

We learned the exact same things at Bevill State while spending FAR less money. As long as those basics courses will transfer, go to community college first. I did, and I got the job I wanted, and so can you.

For years three and four find a four-year university that offers a Bachelor’s Degree the major you want. If you decide to go for a Master’s later, you can always find another school after your fourth year that does have a Master’s you want to pursue.

That may seem farfetched now, but believe me when I say it’s a common practice to get a Bachelor’s at one college and a Master’s elsewhere. Whatever college you decide to attend, find and apply for any scholarships you can. Any money you do  not have to pay yourself is a plus.

And finally, if you do not think you can afford college, there are always student loans available. I had two scholarships at UNA but still needed student loans to cover the school costs. But I’m in the profession I wanted now, and that’s what counts.

If you do not want to attend a four-year university you can always learn a trade at a tech school. There are people from Walker County that spent two years at Bevill State-Sumiton, learned a trade such as collision repair or heating and cooling, that make more money than I do now.

But it should never be about the money. Your goal should be to find something that makes you happy. Find a profession that you can see yourself working in for the rest of you life, find out what it takes to get such a job, and do whatever it takes to get into that career field.

The only limiting factor in what you can achieve is how hard you are willing to work to obtain your goals.

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