For All You New High School Grads

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“It won’t do you a bit of good.”

This was what a friend’s father said to me after I graduated high school. It wasn’t like graduation day or anything, but rather a couple months later when he learned I was leaving my part time job for college. That job, incidently, was precisely one of the reasons I WAS going to go to college.

For the last couple weeks, there have been so many graduation announcements on Facebook and I’m so, SO glad my people have completed this leg of their education! For me, high school wasn’t hard. Not saying I’m brilliant or anything, but there were only a handful of high school courses where I actually had to study. From childhood, I was going to go to college. It wasn’t a question, it just was. My mom was a teacher with a master’s degree and my dad completely valued education. My friend, on the other hand? His father made comments like, “It won’t do you a bit of good…”

At the time, I simply replied with, “I guess we’ll see.” This father wasn’t the kind of guy you’d disagree with. He’d just as soon hit you in the head with a crow bar as hear about college. He made his living with his hands and had no place for anyone who didn’t. He suggested I go to a trade school. That was fine, but a trade school meant you actually had to know what you wanted to do with your life. I did not. College would give me some time and experiences to figure that out.

I wanted to point out to this man that I didn’t enjoy working on cars and with my hands. If I didn’t go to college, there was every chance I’d end up doing something I hated. Now? I see the fact that I had that ability and support as a luxury…a luxury not everyone has.

See, the only thing in this man’s wheelhouse was manual labor. ALL work (legally done, that is) is respectable. I don’t think anyone deserves more or less respect for a job that they do…I just have respect for anyone and everyone who works. No matter what their job. I didn’t grow up with this, “Boy, you’re gonna be President!” kind of silliness, but I WAS raised with a respect for education. I’ve got to assume that this man didn’t have parents who fostered learning. Work, maybe, but learning? That just wasn’t in his realm of possibility.

There are lots of my readers who are just graduating from high school. What you choose to do after this…well? It’s your choice. But, if you’re not getting any kind of emotional support from your family or peers, please let me know. I can’t promise to take away your problems, but I certainly want to give you the kind of support I received. I’m sure that, at some point in this man’s life, he was told, “You can’t” by someone…someone who also probably didn’t get that support of education. So, can we work to end this? Can we start to look at each individual’s choice to move forward as their own? Can we stop putting limits on another’s chance to shine? I hope so. I really hope so.

Recent grads, if there is anything I can do to help you get where you want to be, please drop me an E mail at Congrats!

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