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Congrats, graduates!

June 19, 2018 - Tiffany Larson
With the recent high school graduations taking place in the surrounding area, I wanted to add a part-deux to my January 2018 Tidbits by Tiff blurb. I had previously shared my priorities for the year; planning my twenty-year high school class reunion, continuing to work with youth, and more. Those all continue to be tasks I am working on, amongst several other things. After wrapping up scholarship interviews and career-themed programming with teens and young adults this week, I found myself getting nostalgic. Young minds were asking for advice on college, transitioning into adulthood, and life after high school. I flashed back to twenty years ago, being in similar shoes. I will be the first to admit that I am not the expert on mastering this thing we call “adulting". Those that followed my path through college are quite aware that I had my fair share of ups and downs, with situations in my control and some that were out of my control. Quite honestly, I spend most of my days feeling as though I am still a youth trapped in an adult body. All that being said, these questions sparked a desire to share some advice. Advice that I would give myself if I could go back and talk to the eighteen-year-old version of me. Advice that I still can apply even myself today, as we are all life-long learners with the dreams and aspirations.

While reunion planning I came across a quote. I am a quote junky, especially inspirational ones or ones that I can semi-relate too. I am sure I heard or saw this one years earlier, but it didn't truly sink in until now; 20 years post-high school. There is still debate on if it truly is the words of Mark Twain. That doesn’t matter. It is the interpretation of the words that applies here. I am going to do my best to pull out some advice from this quote for those preparing to graduate high school. In addition, I will be throwing in an extra tidbit. The quote reads, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” I think back over my experiences in life, some pleasurable and some not-so-much. I have lived my life with no regrets, as all of my life experiences (the good, the bad, and the ugly) have gotten me exactly to where I am today. What I would change is going back and taking advantage of so many more opportunities out there. My advice to graduates, is similar to the words in this quote. Do things. Be involved. Don't set yourself up to be disappointed twenty years down the road by the things you didn't do or the opportunities you missed out on.

Let me break it down even further. Throw off the bowlines by finding your passions, and combining them with your education. Put all of that into action. Find opportunities to explore those passions and dreams, and relate them back to the path you are pursuing. Build not only your resume, but your expertise. This can be in the workforce, college, military, or whatever YOU CHOOSE. You are the architect of your future, so design that how you want. Throw in time to have fun, travel abroad, learn a new craft/hobby, get involved with activities on campus or on your worksite. Meet new people and embrace the different cultures. Don't be afraid to ASK for help. Advisors are there to help guide you on your path. SAVE money, and if given the chance continue to look for scholarships while in school; DO IT! Sail away from the safe harbor by stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things. Take advantage of internships and practicums, or even apprenticeships to explore the endless possibilities. Motivate yourself, and live life purposefully by catching the trade winds in your sails.

The last piece of the quote is pretty self-explanatory. EXPLORE, DREAM, AND DISCOVER. There is a great big world out there, and ALL of you are our future mentors and leaders that have the ability to conquer it. You just have to choose to do so. Keep exploring your future, your continued education, your career path, and keep dreaming big. Discover what your WHY is, and ignite that spark to chase after it. Be true to yourself, and stick to your limits when doing so. Find HEALTHY ways to let go of what holds you back from accomplishing your goals and dreams.

While I have been planning my class reunion, I have been taking note of where my classmates are living today. A couple in Australia, some on the east and west coasts, a lot in the Midwest, and more sprinkled throughout the United States. What I love seeing the most is that out of ourgraduating class size of 138, approximately fifty live in Webster City or in the Hamilton County area. This leads me to my final piece of advice. To me, the heart of it all. Know that Webster City will always be a part of you. Cherish the memories. Hold on to friendships as long as you can. Know that you can always return home. Attend your reunions. In fact, once you are content with tackling all of that other advice I mentioned above, (you have earned your degrees, you’ve gained your skills in your trades, you’ve traveled the world, and you have taken advantage of all those opportunities), I encourage you to come back to your hometown. My ideal dream would be to see all of you awesome and amazing youth, many of which I have had the privilege of working with and knowing for many years, come back to live, work, and raise a family.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018! Best of luck on ALL of your future endeavors.

 
 

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