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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Jun. 2, 2014 4 years ago

BIG GIRL NOW: High school grads, a word of advice

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by: Emily Blackwood News Editor

Your life plan won’t have the same agenda as your daily planner.

Back in 2010, I was just a 17-year-old girl with a knack for words and a desire to see my name on something other than Deltona High School’s yearbook. But when I walked across the stage to get my diploma, I didn’t have a clue what to do with that. Most of my career decisions were based on recent movies I had seen, so, thanks to “Eat Pray Love,” I wanted to move to France and get a career in eating pastas.

I took my first journalism class my freshman year in high school and hated it. My teacher was a rather large man with a lot of sass and a lot of ear hair. He never encouraged me to become a reporter and occasionally tried to sway me to a different industry — possibly because I covered my ears every time he read an article about a recent fire or homicide. But in my defense, I’ve never been good at receiving bad news.

That awful class kept me away from joining my school’s newspaper staff, which should have been a part of my fate. Instead, I joined the yearbook club where I eventually got to write a profile piece on the janitors at our school. It may not have been a page turner, but it opened me up to a side of reporting I truly love: getting to know the extraordinary sides of ordinary people.

When I finally walked across that stage, I wasn’t contemplating my future career. If I could guess, I was probably just hoping there wasn’t going to be a crowd at Chili’s where I was having my celebratory lunch. Though “the future” seemed to be the theme of my life for the month of May, it was the farthest thing from my mind.

After the excitement died down, I remember waking up one morning with nothing to do and feeling extremely content and overwhelmed at the same time.

I had no idea what was next.

I knew I was taking a math class that summer. I knew I was having an inflatable slide at my graduation party that weekend. But as for the rest of my life, it was a blank page. And for girl who has kept a detailed planner since she was 5 years old, that was scary.

But eventually I figured it out. I found my way.

So, Ormond Beach grads, when the parties die down and everyone gets busy with figuring out the rest of their lives, don’t get overwhelmed. Your future isn’t anything you’ll expect it to be. So stop expecting and just live. Congratulations on completing the first chapter of your lives and good luck on what’s next.

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