At this time of graduation, it would be nice to write something profound that students might think pertains to their lives. High school graduation is, after all, one step forward into the adult world.
Some students will be going out into the work force, others will attend a community college to learn a trade, some students look forward to attending a four-year college or university to earn a degree, and a few will enter the military. While some students will remain in our community, others will spread their wings and land in a community far from home.
When students graduate from high school they often have a career path in mind. Many will follow that career path, and others will search until they find a job that suits his/her lifestyle.
The important thing is - work a job. Everywhere you look, there are businesses and industries looking for workers. In fact, businesses are desperate for workers. Get out there and find a job that you like. Or, work a job until there is an opening in your chosen field. Go to work.
While you are working at your job - or furthering your education - don’t neglect to work on your self. Your physical and mental well being deserves attention to keep sharp.
Your financial well being is another big issue. No doubt, a lot of students are used to their parents helping them with their finances, or putting a little cash in their bank accounts. Welcome to the real world where you are in charge of your own money. Create a budget and stick with it.
Graduates are also entering the world of making their own decisions. Mom and dad will be there for moral support, but now you are on your own. Make good decisions that you can live with forever. It’s oh so easy to charge down the wrong path and regret that decision later.
Readers of this column have probably figured out that I am a fan of Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs fame. I agree with him that not every student needs a four-year degree from a college or university.
Learn a trade - and you couldn’t find a better place than Iowa Lakes Community College. They offer a variety of courses to prepare you for the work place. Skilled workers are in great demand. For example, welders are being sought everywhere. If you think that fits you, give it a go. There is a big demand for carpenters and we have seen, first hand, what Iowa Lakes students can do. Take a look at the cabin at Five Island Campground and at the residential home at Rockport. The students do fine work and will survive out in the world.
Mike Rowe Works offers scholarship opportunities for students who want to learn a trade. One of the items in his S.W.E.A.T. Pledge is: do not “follow your passion” - take it with you. Think about that for a bit and then go out into the world and do your best - with passion.
Good luck, 2021 graduates.