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A letter of advice to our graduates

Dear Graduates,

Congratulations to the Class of 2024 on your graduation from high school. It is an accomplishment. You should be proud of yourselves. Please know that your community and loved ones are proud of you, too.

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

1. Enjoy the moment, because you never know what’s coming next. We probably don’t have to tell you that because you went to middle school during a 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 watching the Northern Lights on a country road. All of that in-the-moment business is easier if you put the cell phone in your back pocket.

2. 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.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people are nice and want to help. They’ll give you directions, 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.

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

5. 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 not spending more than you make, getting along with annoying roommates and managing your time.

6. Be flexible. If you’re too busy following some predetermined path, you might miss something. Listen to what the world is telling you. Maybe you will find a great job or that perfect (for you) person where you least expect it.

7. 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.

8. 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.

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

10. Please, dear 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.

Not to blow our own horn, but stay on top of things in your hometown by subscribing to the Pine Knot. Better yet, ask for one as a graduation gift.


Your Pine Knot News family

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