Welcome to the world class of ‘14

On The Way

By Olivia Fowler

Now that the class of 2014 has exited the building we will see how they adjust to their new world. I always feel compassion for these young people as they enter the adult world. Many of the achievements of high school are not especially valued outside.

Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

For good high school athletes who excelled in sports but didn’t get athletic scholarships they will learn, perhaps for the first time, that their athletic records will not advance them in the outside world. For those who have grown used to accolades and admiration it can be very tough to learn that outside the world of high school they will not be given a free pass if they don’t produce in other areas.

On the plus side however they’ve learned many valuable lessons about leadership, loyalty, teamwork, sportsmanship, initiative and persistence. They also learn many people skills that can take them far even if they’re not academically gifted.

These are lessons which will benefit them all their lives and will be far more valuable and long lasting than their short lived athletic achievements.

We can’t all be good at sports but can appreciate those who are. We can’t all be gifted academically but can appreciate those who are.

It’s unfortunate that there is sometimes a stigma attached in high school to students who excel academically.

But life has a way of evening things out. If these students get to go to college they soon find themselves in an environment that values their achievements and respects their accomplishments.

In the new world there are no gender restrictions on careers. Years ago, girls became teachers or nurses. But now, there are more women graduating from college than men and they can go into any field they like.

Not everyone needs to go to college. In the new world they can be prepared for careers in other fields needing their special skills. We will probably never see a world where mechanics, electricians, plumbers, builders and technical workers aren’t a necessity.

Today, students can begin training early to be work ready much sooner.

We’re told that during a person’s lifetime they may change jobs an average of five times. And sometimes that means not just changing jobs but changing careers.

So in today’s world change is not only a good thing it is a necessary thing. It follows that flexibility and the ability to continue learning are also a necessity.

If I could offer any advice to the class of 2014 I’d say “Do the thing you’re good at”. You’ll be successful in a field you enjoy. Yes, you will need employment.

But, never go into something purely because it’s expected to be a growth industry.

Do your own research and learn as much as you can about things that appeal to you.

Don’t listen to naysayers. This means that when Uncle Bill says things like, “You can’t make a living at that”, don’t let that take the wind out of your sails. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

If you enjoy your work and look forward to going in that means much more than a huge paycheck in a job you hate.

You have great potential. Never sell yourself short.