Dear Graduates,

First, I would like to say congratulations. You are all taking one of the first major steps toward your future, and making it this far has been no small task, as I am sure you are all aware of. 

In moving home from my first year of college, I have been asked this question, and its variations, on multiple occasions: “What is your advice for those going into their first year of college knowing what you know now?” 

My first piece of advice is a cliche, and I apologize for that, but there is a reason that it is such. Socialize. For those of you who are like me, socializing is extremely difficult and terrifying, especially in a new place with new people and new obstacles to conquer. 

I have found that most people will be just like you. Everyone wants to make friends and they are all too afraid to kick start the process out of fear of judgement. Let them judge you. If they do, then you probably don’t want to be friends with them anyways.

Next, find something that you are passionate about, and if there is a club for it then become a member. I know that so far I sound like an orientation leader, but I promise that finding your niche or safe space will be extremely healing and beneficial. 

If there isn’t a club, make one! Also, if there are organizations that put on fun activities, then do them! Go tie-dye shirts and pet the therapy animals that they bring in during finals and midterms if your school offers it. 

Experience everything that you possibly can. This goes for everyone, not just those pursuing higher education. Go to art shows, parties, festivals, or anything that catches your eye. Don’t do this to the point of neglecting your goals, but find things you are interested in and do them just to say you did. This is something you have to be careful with because it can easily get out of hand, but do not be so intensely focused on one thing that you forget to make real memories.

My last point is one that I believe is the most important, and this is applicable to everyone: graduates, students, and workers. Do NOT do something purely out of obligation, especially if it is overwhelming or a detriment to yourself. Be kind to yourself and figure out what is best for you in reaching your goals. Obligation is a difficult thing to ignore. This, however, is a lesson that most people will learn the hard way. I sure did. 

I know that everyone is sure to have a different experience going into college, the workforce or the military, so please take these points with a grain of salt because I am in no way, shape or form an expert on this topic. Adjust them to your situation. They are malleable. Whatever you do, make sure that you are happy doing it. 

I am proud of all of you for making it to this point, but remember that it is just a checkpoint. Now, onto the next. Good luck and congratulations, Class of 2019.


Jordan Maddox

Jordan Maddox is a 2018 Henderson High School graduate and former intern for The Henderson News. She currently attends the University of North Texas. 

© 2019, Henderson Newspapers Inc.

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