A hometown newspaper with a local office, local owners & lots of local news

Our View: An open letter to recent graduates

Dear Graduates,

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 on your graduation from high school. It is an accomplishment. You should be proud of yourselves, and please know that your community and loved ones are proud of you, too.

As you go off to jobs, college, the military, trade school, working through a gap year or however you choose to begin adulthood, we’d like to offer some words of advice. Although some of them may seem cliche, that doesn’t mean they’re not sincere or based in reality.

Enjoy the moment, because you never know what’s coming next. We probably don’t have to tell you that because you just lived through a now 15-month-long pandemic. Still, we encourage you to appreciate what you have and what you’re doing when you’re doing it, whether it’s hanging out with friends or family, building something, going on a road trip, reading a great novel or celebrating Grandpa’s 86th birthday.

All of that in-the-moment business requires

detaching from your phone, something everyone should do more often.

Make good choices. It’s the same thing we’ve been telling you since you were in elementary school and it should follow you for life. Stop and think. Don’t bow to peer pressure. It’s up to you to be a strong, self-aware individual in charge of your own life.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people are nice and want to help. They’ll give you directions to a great restaurant, show you the ropes at school or a new job, explain a difficult concept, befriend you. Knowing when you need to ask for help is an important skill; so is accepting help graciously.

Question. Don’t just accept that something is true because someone said it or shared it on social media. Verify. Vet your sources. Read a newspaper or two, the Pine Knot News for sure.

College isn’t just about taking classes. It’s also about meeting people who aren’t in your comfortable little circle, peers who think thoughts your parents might not agree with. It’s about learning life skills like balancing a checkbook, paying bills and getting along with annoying roommates.

Be flexible. Listen to what the world is telling you. If you’re too busy following some predetermined path, you might miss something. You never know, maybe you will find a great job or that person that is perfect for you where you least expect it.

Don’t be afraid to take chances and make mistakes. Life can be an amazing adventure full of new discoveries. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on.

Know that it’s never too late to change direction. Folks go back to college in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s. They change careers multiple times. They get out of unhealthy relationships. They conquer addiction. You can do it, too.

Respect one another. Love sincerely. Laugh hard. Know that people are always more important than things.

And please, Graduate, after you’ve gone out into the world, don’t be afraid to come home. In a world where you can work from anywhere, it’s possible to live somewhere beautiful like Carlton County and work for a company based elsewhere. Or start your own business here. You are always welcome.


Your Pine Knot News family