WEYBURN - High school graduation is a very special milestone, and it is a busy time of year as School Community Councils and parents plan for graduation ceremonies at their local school.
I have one more year before I have to start preparing for my own son’s graduation, but I can imagine how emotional this time of year can be for the student, the parents, and their families. It is an end of 12 or 13 years of school for most students and many different paths of choices are awaiting them, including post-secondary education, entering the workforce, taking a gap year, or exploring other opportunities.
Hopefully many of our graduating students are ready for the next step after school, and have a goal in mind. For many students who are planning to head to post-secondary education, or start a new career, this milestone might include having to move away and live on their own. I encourage parents and students to sit down together and discuss budget planning, as it will be a key part of becoming independent.
I always enjoy seeing our local graduates dressed up for their ceremonies, and it paints a picture of how excited they are for a new journey in life. There is also a lot of nostalgia, when I see a student who I have interviewed or taken a photo of when they were younger. I know that next year, when my son is on the graduation list, it will be even more emotional for me.
The things that I would like my son to know, is the same for any graduating student. Be kind to others, but trust your gut so others don’t take advantage of you. Speak up and let your voice be heard. It is especially important to respect your civic voting rights and get involved in municipal, political and national politics.
Be respectful to employers, and do not feel afraid to encourage positive change to a workplace. Sometimes it takes a new mindset to strengthen a business. It is important to chase your dreams, but at the same time don’t get too lost and avoid reality.
It is also essential to give yourself boundaries and create a positive balance between your social life and your chosen career or post-secondary path.
Staying in touch with family members remains important, so don’t be afraid to talk to someone you trust if you have a concern in your life. At times one can feel lonely, especially when you have moved out of your family home, or are living in dorms, or a rental apartment, but the beauty of technology makes it easy to stay in touch. In-person visits are important, as sometimes there is nothing better in this world than a friendly hug, or hearing from a family member or neighbour who is concerned about you.
Remember the community where you attended school and try to give back to the programs and services when you can, even if it is just by volunteering. Encourage those younger than you to stay connected, because there is a lot of truth to the saying that it is our youth who are the future.