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Advice to graduates

June 10, 2009 - Linda Lobeck
I can remember graduating from high school and being excited at the thought of entering college. I had pretty good grades in high school and anticipated that college will be about the same. And for the most part it was, except for that first C grade I received. I thought I was such a failure. I hadn't struggled in a class before and it really humbled me. I attended a scholarship meeting recently with my son, who is a recent IMHS graduate. The students attending received some very good words of advice from retiring Supt. Denny Chartier. He told them about his first semester at Northern Michigan University and struggling in one of his classes. He called home very upset and felt like such a failure. He told the graduates not panic when that happens to them in college. They can contact the school as well as their parents and work with the college to get some additional help or even drop a class. The main theme was that college will present many challenges and times of stress. The graduates need to stay connected with their families and not panic when they hit bumps in the road. It's not the end of the world. I can remember calling my parents when I was a junior at NMU crying because I had been sick with mono and a bad strep infection. I was having a hard time finding the energy to complete certain assignments in my radio production class and felt that a bad grade would send by GPA plummeting downward. After talking with my professor and my parents, I decided to drop the class that semester rather than get a low grade. It wasn't the end of the world like I thought it would be and I was able to take the class, which was in my major, at a later date. I concentrated on my other classes that semseter and went home on weekends to get the rest I needed to feel better. I think Denny speaking from the heart to these students means a lot to them. If their school superintendent had a few bumps in the road in his first semester, maybe they won't think they are failures when they have a difficult time in a class. And they know they can contact the school as well as find some resources within the college for help. It's a whole different ballgame for these soon-to-be college students. They will be responsible for taking care of themselves totally in college — no one to do their wash, clean up their rooms, check to make sure they are getting enough rest, making sure they are up in time for classes each day, and preparing meals for them. It's a lot to take in with being on your own for the first time, and it's all a part of gaining your independence and growing up. Hopefully, these new college graduates will realized, like I did, that college is a time to discover yourself, make new friends, and receive an education so you can get started on your career. Although they may now feel that high school was the best time of their lives, the best is yet to come in college.


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