Celebrations this month are forthcoming to honor graduates at all academic levels. From pre-k to collegiate degrees and military distinctions, there are many who will be promoted to move on to the next level of their life. As an educator of fourteen years, I have shared great joy with my former students who have crossed the stage to accept their high school diploma, looking forward to the unknown. Even as I prepare this article, I reflect upon the numerous discussions I have had with my current students regarding how they would like to see their future. For some, they are registered for college or have chosen to work. And for others, they have not taken the time to consider what they will do with their life aside from being out of school.
Will they continue their education to expand their options? Will they attend a trade school to gain unique skill sets that will set them up for an attainable career path? Or will they jump right into the workplace?
“What will you do now?” This is a question that many will ask and for those who are expected to have all the details, know that it is okay if you don’t have it all figured out, though it is highly recommended that you have something in mind besides saying “I don’t know.” (High school graduates: please know that this is a parent’s worst nightmare.)
Life is a journey that hands out tests without a straightforward grade. Sometimes you pass and sometimes you fail. When you fall, get back up. Failure is not permanent; instead, allow failure to teach you the necessary lessons you need to acquire, and then keep moving forward. Readjusting your strategy does not mean you have to throw away your goal. Life is not a cookie-cutter recipe: you can learn just as much from the low points in your life as you do from the high points.
Embracing your journey and being true to who you are as you figure out your next steps will be both thrilling and sometimes frightening. Either way, you can handle whatever comes your way. Remember that what you do will leave a lasting impression on your life and possibly those connected to you as well as those you influence. Whatever you do, make it count.