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A high school diploma is a ticket to paradise?

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Taber Times

Being a graduate is a must in today’s hustle and bustle. Think of a high school diploma as a ticket to paradise, Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory or, most importantly, a graduate’s eventual dream job. A student starts school in pre-school or Kindergarten and makes his/her way into middle school and then onto high school — where the student starts thinking about his/her future. Should I go into teaching or nursing or should I focus on the trades?

These questions, no doubt, riddle a young student with a quandary of astronomical proportions.

But, in all reality, a student will most likely change career paths at multiple times throughout a lifetime. It’s not like it used to be when an employee grew up and graduated and worked at a job for the rest of their life — in a factory or for a company. Today, employees so often get sick and tired of their job or career and want a change of pace from time-to-time. The mundane becomes too much to handle, as employees decide what it is they want to do when they grow up. An education is not the only aspect of a graduate’s future endeavours as an adult. Experience is just as important. Just because a student earned a diploma, and then perhaps a college diploma and then a degree doesn’t mean the student necessarily is well-equipped to conquer the masses, in whatever career path a graduate has chosen. Gaining exposure to said career path choice or trudging through the trenches to learn the ropes is a must for any young student of industry, whatever industry that could be. Perhaps, volunteering for a company or place a student might be interested in as a career. Not just volunteering willy nilly, actually putting in hours doing the work a student wants to do, after graduation.

If a student wants to be a carpenter, a student should get out and about and be a carpenter’s apprentice; or if a student wants to write for a newspaper, the student should write to newspapers and submit stories or get involved as a community journalist for a byline. This grunt work will indeed help a student gain invaluable experience in their chosen field. Work experience, along with a diploma from a high school, college and/or university equals an eventual job doing something worthwhile instead of just a chore. Graduation time is right around the corner for many southern Alberta high schools. With graduation comes great responsibility, to use a comic book legend Stan Lee catch-phrase.

Once graduated, a student becomes a potential employee or a career student (which is someone who attends a post-secondary institution until they are 65 years old and then retire without any experience in any given field). Not only is a graduate able to explore options, a graduate is also responsible for his/her actions and/or inaction. A graduate might want to spend his/her days eating fast food take out, while playing X-Box One in their parent’s basement, or be happy and content hitting all the hottest clubs in town each and every night, dancing the night away. Most of us have been there and done that and being sloth-like and a party girl or boy has its time and place, but if a graduate is 35 and is still living “the life” then maybe it’s time to switch gears or figure out a game plan for life. Life isn’t like a box of chocolates because life isn’t at all times all that sweet. Life is what you make of it, that is true, but sometimes life squeezes a lemon all over open wounds and it stings. Life is not all fun and games but games and fun must be part of it. Life is too short to be just an employee. A graduate has an opportunity to soar but can also fly face first into the vast ocean water that is life.

Being prepared for life’s ups, downs, trials, and tribulations is all a part of growing up. And a graduate never stops learning. If a graduate does stop learning… then it’s time for an overhaul, a reboot… a chance to shine again, new and improved. Graduating is a step to self-discovery. Graduates, life is a highway thanks to Canadian songsmith Tom Cochrane, with winding roads, speed bumps, important intersections, and rest stops along the way.

Drive it cautiously, but with eyes wide open, looking forward to the destination.

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