Graduates get ready to begin next chapter of life

Published 6:18 pm Saturday, May 19, 2018

Like hundreds of other parents throughout Dallas County, this month my family is celebrating the graduation of a child from high school. Our daughter, Maggie, graduated from Morgan Academy Friday, and will soon begin the next chapter of her life as an incoming freshman at the University of Alabama [can I get a Roll Tide?].

Although she seems to be taking it all in stride, that cannot be said for her mother and me. Soon we will be packing her up, driving her to the “big city” dreading that moment when we get that last hug before saying what I’m sure will be a tearful goodbye.

I know deep in my heart she will be fine. She’s smart, centered, respectful and has good common sense, but that doesn’t keep me from being terrified she’ll get swallowed up by the great big, and often cruel, world out there waiting for her.

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We recently attended a Bama Club event where she, and 14 other local students who will be attending UA, were awarded scholarships.
A former Bama Club scholarship recipient, Nivory Gordon III, who recently graduated from UA with a degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in mathematics, gave students a list of things to make sure they did while attending UA.

In the spirit of the advice he gave that night, I’d like to give my own list of things to do, or not forget to do, as high school graduates move on to the college or university of their choice.

1. Don’t forget to call your mom [and dad] at least once a week – and texting does not count. We know you’re busy, but we love you and miss hearing your voice.

2. Go to class – school is now your job, and like a job in the real world, attendance is not optional.

3. Study- see #2

4. Get involved – the school you’ll be attending likely has a wealth of opportunities for you to get involved. Whether it’s a fraternity, sorority, civic-based organization, student government, sporting event or some other organization, you’ll find the exercise fulfilling and rewarding on many levels.

5. Be nice – You’re not in your familiar surroundings any longer and you’ll meet lots of new and interesting people. Be respectful and have good manners. Smile as you shake their hand. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

6. Pray often – be thankful for where you are, and for those who helped you get there. You are where you are by the grace of God and the many people who were kind enough to help you when you needed it.

7. Listen to your professors – while this is indeed important, it’s also important to apply your own wisdom, common sense and raising to what you’re being taught.

8. Be on time – whether it’s being in class on time, or submitting your work on time, punctuality is important and sends the message you are serious about whatever it is you are doing.

9. Exercise and eat healthy – we’ve all heard stories about the “freshman 15,” which refers to first-year college students putting on weight due to overindulgence in cafeteria style food, stress or alcohol consumption. Exercise is essential to maintaining good balance for your mind and your body. Be sure to feed your body like you are feeding your soul through prayer and study.

10. Be optimistic – optimism is hard sometimes, even in the best of circumstances. When all seems to be going wrong, keeping a can-do attitude and believing it will all work out for the best is essential to maintaining a positive frame of mind. And nobody likes being around a pessimist, right?

There are surely many others that can be added to this list, but the above, along with the advice and guidance of your parents, will help as you begin the next of many new chapters in your life.

And in case I didn’t mention it, don’t forget to call your parents.

Dennis Palmer is publisher of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at 410-1712, or by email: