“Shrek the Musical” opens with a wonderful song.
The little ogre Shrek is going out into the world on his own. His parents sing to him about how it’s a great big, beautiful world “with happiness all around. It’s peaches and cream and every dream comes true.”
But then there’s the funny twist “But not for you.”
He’s an ogre after all and they’re not that well received in the world.
Of course Shrek goes on to do pretty remarkable things and build a pretty special life, despite being mean and green.
As the Class of 2019 goes out into the world, keep this in mind: There are no little ogres in your midst. At this point, your life is a blank canvas and you can build whatever kind of future you want. Everything you have done for the last 18 years has placed you at this point in time.
It’s a great time to be a young person headed out into the world.
The economy is booming. “Help Wanted” signs seem to be everywhere. The labor market is tight and you should be able to get some kind of job if you want. With any luck, it might even be the kind of job you can parlay into a long-term future.
A buddy and I had a discussion just this morning and he explained that there aren’t a lot of people who want to work with their hands anymore. If you’re a mechanic, electrician, plumber, carpenter or have any aptitude for that type of skilled labor, you have a very bright future.
Educational opportunities also abound. Snead State Community College is just up the road and is a fantastic resource for our local high school students. Be sure to get your federal financial aid forms filled out by the deadline, which I believe is June 30 this year. My daughter graduated from high school last year and is now at Snead. She’s a singer, so I’ve spent a little time around Snead for performances and I got to tour the music building the other day. I’ve been impressed with the school. My daughter has grown there. My adult friends who attended Snead and then went on to large universities have told me repeatedly the best teachers they had during their college days were at Snead. I've grown to love the place in a very short time.
If work or college is not up your alley, there’s always the military. For a new graduate just trying to get his hands around what he wants to do in the future, this is an option. My biggest regret in life is that I didn’t spend a couple years in Army green myself, at least in the Guard or Reserves. I’ve been around a few of the recruiters from our local recruiting station over the years and they strike me as professionals who will spell out what a young person entering the service can expect. Military service comes with some great perks further down the road, such as the GI Bill for education. There are also first time home loan programs for veterans. It’s certainly something to consider.
There are also technical education programs at some of our nearby community colleges where you can learn a trade if you still need to polish some work skills before heading out into the world.
Opportunities abound for the Class of 2019. It truly is a big, beautiful world and it’s for you. Take control of your future and make the most of it. But don’t forget that life is not all about work. Take some time to enjoy the ride a little each day too, especially over your "last summer" before college and careers.
Best wishes from all of us at The Advertiser-Gleam and don’t hesitate to reach out to us to update your friends and neighbors on your progress as you reach milestones in your life. We love reporting stories of local men and women who go on to succeed.