Chenango Countyís seniors will walk across the stage this weekend and receive their diplomas, launching them out of the comfort of high school and into a strange new setting, and before they take that step, Iíd like to offer a bit of advice.
First, and most importantly, be careful not to step on your own graduation gown and tumble onto the floor during the promenade. I know it sounds impossible, but I came dangerously close to doing just that on the day of my graduation. (As a matter of fact, the same thing happened on my wedding day. Do you see a pattern starting to emerge?)
But, assuming you make it through graduation unscathed and intact, the best advice I can offer is to enjoy all of the opportunities available to a new graduate.
When I graduated from high school, I was terrified, and I thought that was a unique feeling. Everyone around me seemed so excited to be leaving the town where we had grown up. I was sure I was the only one feeling anxiety about starting the beginning of my adult life.
Looking back now, I realize how wrong I was. For the past year, my cousin has been staying with me. As a soon to be graduating senior, Iíve helped her through the college application process, through the long and drawn out FASFA application and together, we waited patiently to hear back from the colleges she had applied to. Now, with graduation just days away, I see some of the fears I had as a senior reflected in her and her friends. Some do a much better job of hiding their anxiety than others, but for all of them, graduation day will mark a turning point in their lives, and no one knows exactly what to expect as they leave their comfortable surroundings for something new.
Itís way too easy to let our fears keep us from doing things that we might enjoy. When youíre starting something new, this is especially true. For the seniors who are about to start college, there are so many opportunities to meet new people, to hear new points of view, to get involved in different activities. Donít be afraid to join a campus organization, listen to alternative points of view or even consider studying abroad.
For seniors who arenít going off to college, donít let that stop you from taking opportunities. It doesnít take long in life to become bogged down by commitments and obligations. Make the most of every day and find a way to do the things that you really want to do.
No one knows exactly what our purpose is on this earth, but I think having fun and enjoying every moment we have is a great way to start.