Column: Grad advice: Don't sweat the small stuff

By CAMAL PETRO,

Exactly 10 years ago this week, I walked across the stage of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum for my high school graduation, so this is a special year for me along with the class of 2018.

The end of a school year is exciting for students, especially seniors in high school who are getting ready to move on to the real world or college life.

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I graduated from Biloxi High School, but sure enough, a decade has come and gone and I’m facing the question of if I should attend my high school reunion this summer or not.

I still have my core group of friends from high school, and no, we’ve already made the decision to not attend our 10-year high school reunion. I don’t need to reminisce with some dude I shared a history class with junior year.

That’s just me, though.

While it seems your entire life is building toward that day in May when you get your high school diploma and say goodbye to your high school life, it’s just an end of a short chapter in the story of your life.

This is an exciting time, sure, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a blip on the radar. 

Leading up to my graduation, I used to think everything I did in high school mattered, and some things definitely did.

Obviously, you need to do well to get into college, if you decide to go to college, and I guess you learn a thing or two if you pay attention in class, which I didn’t.

But once I started attending Ole Miss, not once did anything I ever did in high school matter.

I’m sure there are a few teachers or principals reading this yelling at me right now, but I’m not talking about academics.

Those embarrassing moments when I wanted to hide from the entire student body?  It didn’t matter anymore.  What about those times when I felt like the coolest kid in school?  Nope, those didn’t stick with me in college either.

The best thing about high school graduation is what’s about to come next for you.

Those first few years after high school are crucial when it comes to growing as a person, and you won’t believe how fast it happens.

When my parents left after helping move me into Kincannon Hall and I was on my own to figure out things, my life changed.

I learned more about myself in those first few months of college than I did during my entire time in high school.

The same can be said for the recent grad who’s joining the military or someone who’s going straight to work.  The life experiences come fast once you’re out from the protection of your high school walls, so get ready for it.

Some get sad they’ll never see their high school friends again, some are excited to leave and some are still confused on what they want to do with the rest of their life, and I’m here to say, that it’s OK.

It’s OK to have that uncertainty of “what’s next?” for your life.

Life will come at you fast, so be open to new things. Pretty soon you’ll look up and it’ll be time to RVSP for your 10-year high school reunion.

Last piece of advice: don’t assume you have to have things figured out by the time you’re my age. I’m about to be 28 and I still have my entire life ahead of me – 10 years after high school.

 

Petro is the award-winning sports editor of the HubCitySPOKES family of newspapers and magazines. He’s a proud graduate of Biloxi High School.

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