Monday, May 03, 2021

What Every High School Graduate Should Know (Or Learn)


Needless to say, graduating from high school looks a lot different in 2021 than it did when I graduated in 1975.  First of all, we weren't dealing with a pandemic.  I had only read about it in a history class.  Second, there were no computers so there was no such thing as virtual learning.  There are some things, however, that never change when moving on to the next stage of your life.  

For those leaving home and going to college, there will be some adjustments to be made.  No longer will mom and dad or the grandparents be at arm's length to pick up after your "mess" or do things you didn't even know they did because, after all, that's just what we do.  You will literally be on your own for the first time.  You will be totally responsible for your success or failure.

As a mother and a grandmother, let me offer some How to life skills to help guide you along the next phase of your journey:


Do Laundry:  You must know that you have to separate colors from whites so the colors don't "bleed" all over your nice white fabrics.  Now you might say, "I can just take my dirty clothes back home on the weekend to let mom wash them."  Yes, you could do that and mom would probably be happy to do it but at what point do you stop leaning on mom for things you should be old enough to take care of.   Mom (dad and grandparents) is there to help guide you into adulthood. 

Clean carpets, windows and toilets: (if you have to)  If you live in a dorm, the showers/bathrooms will become someone else's responsibility but it's always a good idea to get in the habit of cleaning for yourself.  If you decide to move out of the dorm and into your own apartment it is imperative that you know what it means to be a good housekeeper in addition to being a good student.  And if you have a roommate, you should set house cleaning ground rules from the beginning.  Once you get in the habit, you'll think nothing of it.

Iron clothes:  OK so you're thinking, "Who irons anymore?  Everything is permanent press.  Perhaps, however, a nicely pressed shirt/blouse with pants and skirt tells others you are well-groomed.  Believe me, Professors take note of your appearance as well as how you speak and write.  I always say we are judged on 4 things:  1)  How we look  2)  How we act  3)  How we speak  4)  How we write. 


Know how to write an essay/research paper:  You'll be doing a lot of it in college so get prepared and don't ever be afraid to ask for help. Don't ever pay someone to write your papers for you.  You have to learn for yourself because writing will be a part of your life for the rest of your life.

Form Good Study Habits: Eliminate distractions by choosing an environment that will help you focus on your studies.  Find a good study buddy--someone who is as serious about their education and actually trying to graduate!

Maintain a Positive Mindset: Trust me, there will be times when you get completely frustrated and want to give up but keep reminding yourself why you're in college. And by all means, don't keep your frustrations bottled up inside of you because when you least expect it, you will explode.  Reach out to family for your life support.


Work on your conflict resolution skills.  In a perfect world, we would all get along and sing Kum Ba Ya but we all know there is nothing perfect about society.  You will be coming together will different types of personalities from different walks of life and not everyone is going to like you (or you them).  This is where your home training will kick in.  If your parents have taught you to be respectful of others, follow that golden rule.  If you get into a beef with someone (even if you didn't cause it), know how to apologize and walk away.  Remember your WHY for being in college.  On the other hand......

Defend Yourself:  Don't be a pushover and allow others to just walk all over you.  You don't have to be a bully but you can let people know (in a respectful way) that you don't tolerate foolishness.

Get Some Exercise:  I've always been told that a healthy mind and a healthy body go hand in hand.

Stay in Touch with Family and Friends Back Home:  They're your life support remember.

Stay Spiritually Connected:  All I have to say about this is, you will say "Lord Help Me!" "Help Me Jesus!" or "Lord, if you just help me get through this......" more than a few times over a four-year period.  I PROMISE YOU!  

There are plenty more life skills I could mention but I do believe these are the most important to get you started.  

Best of Luck to you!

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