Advice for the college-bound

Published 9:57 pm Monday, June 11, 2012

With the end of the school year upon us, there has been no shortage lately of graduations, scholarship announcements, end-of-year awards, youth recognition ceremonies and the like — so much so that it’s difficult to choose something else for the topic of today’s column.

In only a few short days, Suffolk Public Schools will graduate roughly 900 students in three consecutive ceremonies, making a grueling but rewarding day for myself, the School Board, a handful of police officers and the other folks who will be attending all three events.

On recent Saturdays, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and First Baptist Christian School already have sent forth their classes of 2012 with all the appropriate pomp and circumstance for students who have accomplished the completion of high school.

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For me, covering graduations inevitably brings memories of my own high school graduation, even now after I have celebrated my 10-year high school reunion. Those memories inevitably breed regret over things I did that I should not have done, or things I didn’t do that I should have done.

Therefore, to add to the massive amounts of advice you college-bound graduates will be getting in the next few months, here’s a bit more from somebody still young enough not to be an “old person who doesn’t get it,” but old enough to have a bit of advice to give.

-Go to class. Do your assignments. Study. You (or your parents or grandparents) are paying for college. You wouldn’t pay for a meal (or let them pay for it) and then not eat it, would you?

-Take advantage of the gym on campus. It’s likely free for students. It will help ward off the inevitable weight gain. Seriously, there’s no reason not to do so.

-Get involved in extracurricular activities. Be involved in the college community. It will enrich your experience and, in some cases, get your professional résumé started.

-Don’t party hardy. Have fun, sure, but don’t drink to the point you don’t remember anything the next day. You don’t want to be that person.

-Know who your friends are. Cultivate those friendships, and don’t waste time with people who don’t care about you.

-Don’t waste your summers. Do an internship in the area of your major, and do it soon enough so that you can change majors if you discover it’s not for you. Work a job to get money. Read non-stop.

-This just might be the most important one — cut up all your credit cards, and don’t get any more. Live within your means. Pay off your student loans as soon as possible. Your friends might think you’re crazy, but they’ll be jealous of you just a few years down the road.