Time to face the ‘real’ world

Hey, all you Fort High graduates out there, tonight is the time to bask in the glory of your academic achievements, to relieve fond memories with friends and fellow classmates, to clench that diploma and roar, “Look out, world, here I come!”
That’s because tomorrow, reality sets in. Choosing a career, surviving post-secondary school, facing student debt, and an intimidating job market. Not to mention learning the hard lesson of the difference between “gross” pay and “net” pay.
Oh, and don’t forget about shouldering the burden of adulthood?
Scared yet? You should be. When principal Ian Simpson or vice-principal Mary Hickling hands you that diploma tonight on stage at the Memorial Sports Centre, they’ll be smiling. Why? Because you’re walking the plank and they’re holding the sword. It’s time to sink or swim.
And you can’t scream, “No, take me back, puhleeze!”
No one will, of course, nor should you. Yes, graduating from high school is cause for exhilaration–and intimidation. It’s closing the chapter on one part of your life, and opening another. It’s the freedom of taking charge of your own life coupled with the sobering responsibilities of being a contributing member of society.
For those of you leaving high school tonight for college or university, or the workforce, tomorrow really is the “first day of the rest of your life.” What you make of it will depend entirely upon yourself.
Scary? Yes. Exciting? Definitely. But then again, that’s what life is all about.
Go for it, grads. Stake your claim. Make your mark. Follow your dreams. Don’t be afraid to change course. And never look back.
Pssst! Two other pieces of free advice from someone who this month is marking the 20th anniversary of the “first day of the rest of my life.”
First and foremost, pig out on your mom’s cooking all summer. Don’t stop at seconds, take thirds. Demand five square meals a day. Relish her leftovers. Put on 20 pounds.
Trust me, Slimfast, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and TOPS have nothing on the “starving student diet plan.”
Saltines and peanut butter four times a week isn’t very appetizing after about a month, and fashioning bologna or mock chicken loaf into the shape of a turkey at Thanksgiving just doesn’t cut it.
Secondly, three words–empty nest syndrome. Repeat after me: Empty. Nest. Syndrome.
Now’s the perfect time to ask for a car, citing an obscure study that links AIDS with riding public transit. Or demand a complete name-brand wardrobe so you don’t look “poor” compared to the other kids.
And ask Dad for a $500-a-week allowance. After he picks himself up off the floor, he’ll easily settle for $250, which gives you plenty of money for beer and just enough left over for, you guessed it, saltines and peanut butter.
You can thank me later.

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