Tips for graduates

By Justin Hubbard


Spoiler alert: This is not a sports column. I’m sorry to disappoint those who have come to expect expert analysis in this section of our paper.

I do not go off-script in my columns too often but I would like to do it this week. Is that OK with y’all? Sweet.

As you can tell by the opening of this piece, I can be a lighthearted person. Life is way too short to go about it with a permanently serious attitude. There is no fun in that, anyway.

But this week, I want to try and impart some helpful advice because, after all, I am pretty wisdomous. All of our area’s schools have officially conferred their seniors’ high school diplomas, which means the seniors from Greene County, Morgan County, Nathanael Greene Academy and Lake Oconee Academy are headed into the real world.

For some, that means entering the workforce. I tip my hat to them. I personally think a high degree of education is invaluable and important, but I also realize the fact college is most definitely not for everyone. I applaud those who will take a different road and not feel pressured by teachers or family members to pursue a postsecondary education. Good for you!

However, because of my own experiences, I don’t have much advice for those people. Always work hard and give your best effort in everything you do is about all I know to say to them.

With that in mind, I want to address the college crowd.

Congratulations, you’re going to college. Also, good luck – you’re going to college.

The next four-plus years of your life are sure to be demanding. You are going to miss home at some point. And that goes for those of you who like to act cool and “over” high school, too. 

You are going to struggle. You are going to fail at times but you will also succeed. College will teach you how to overcome that adversity and show you how to persevere even when you feel like giving up.

Many of you are a lot smarter than I was back in my days at GCHS. I know of several recent graduates who took various AP and dual enrollment classes. I took a few and graduated fifth in my class but, geez, some of you really put my high school career to shame. Regardless of what you have experienced so far, though, you will be challenged over the next few years. Trust me.

So, when those challenges come, don’t run away from them. Embrace them. Don’t be afraid to get knocked on your back a few times.

Always study. Take it from someone who didn’t – and paid the price for it in the form of a couple of D’s and a few C’s – studying is vital. I know many of you probably did very little in some of your classes but still made A’s and B’s. I’ve been there before. Believe me when I say that, in most cases, it is not going to be nearly as easy to do that in college.

Go to class. Many professors will have relaxed attendance requirements and you will be tempted to skip class. Before you know it, skipping will become a habit and you will miss valuable instruction. Don’t do it unless you’re sick or otherwise have to skip. You will regret it later in the semester.

Branch out. Don’t be afraid to try out on-campus clubs or take a job. You will have a lot more free time than you realize, regardless of your class load, and this will allow you to make great friendships and connections.

All right, here are some quick tips for those attending my alma mater, the University of Georgia:

– Go to athletic events. (I am so jealous that current UGA students get to experience to ongoing boom of the school's athletics.)

– Remember that calling the Dawgs is almost always appropriate.

– Take an opportunity before the first day of class to find all your classrooms and buildings. It will help you big time.

– Study the bus routes. Nothing sucks worse than accidentally getting on the East Campus Express bus thinking you’re on East-West. Been there, done that.

– Don’t try to take back-to-back classes on opposite ends of the campus unless they are required classes. This won’t work out well for you.

– Don’t walk under the Arch until after you graduate. Also, it’s not “the arches.”

– Remember, the athletic teams are known as the Georgia Bulldogs, not the Georgia ‘Bulldawgs.’

– Understand Georgia Tech is our biggest rival. That’s not up for debate.

I wish the very best to all of our area’s graduates. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to meet several of you over the past two years.

I’ll end my column with a quote from one of my all-time favorite TV shows. And yes, I understand our graduates are probably too young to understand this reference:

Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.

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