The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 24, 2013

It's a long road ahead for the graduates

Summer is near and that means hundreds of area teens are preparing for likely what will be the biggest move in their young lives.

Clinton, Camanche and Fulton, Ill., will hold graduation ceremonies this weekend, meaning high school seniors will leave the confines of a school district that many have called home for 13 years, and will make decisions that could impact the rest of their lives.

OK, that seems a bit dramatic, but the decisions made in the next few months for these 18-year-olds can either help or hinder future opportunities.

It’s been almost 10 years since I graduated from high school (nine to be exact, where has the time gone?), and I had already decided my career by that time — journalism. I worked for my town’s newspaper during high school and I made the choice when I left high school that I would major in journalism.

Four years later, I graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a Journalism degree. My decision at 18 years old obviously had a direct influence on my day-to-day life.

In the years since I made that decision as a high school senior, I’ve picked up some pointers from people far wiser than I, and here are a few suggestions for 2013 graduates.

Have a goal

This seems really easy, but during a loaded semester at college or in a difficult position at work, long-term goals appear a long way away. When going to college, it’s easy to think about walking across the stage and receiving a diploma.

But at 18, four years seems like an eternity. Achieving that final goal is difficult, and by focusing only on that one item, can be daunting.

One aspect that has helped me through my time as a college student and in the work world, has been setting small goals along the way. Sure, my end goal was receiving a diploma, but in the mean time, I set individual milestones to help me get through each year, week and day.

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