Decisions from high school set up your life

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Editing the senior photos for the Tribune’s annual graduation tab on Monday, it made me think back to when I got my own senior pictures taken 14 years ago.

At a high school in southwestern Virginia, many people had their senior photos taken on their own time outside of a school setting — like they do today — while everyone was still required to take more formal photos at the school. Those were the photos that went into the yearbook, even if we had fabulous photos taken on a more casual setting. For the girls that meant what I’ll refer to as “the dreaded drape.”

For those of you who don’t know what a drape is, I will basically describe it as a large black piece of fabric that is draped around a girl’s shoulders that is made to appear like a slightly off-the-shoulder dress. It reminds me of something from the early ’90s.

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I was glad to see that Albert Lea Area Schools and the other surrounding schools don’t require the drape for their senior photos. I don’t know if any schools across the country still use them, but I remember I dreaded the day that photo was taken.

When it was time for senior photos, I can remember being so excited about life after graduation, as I anticipate many soon-to-be graduates are.

How will it go at college? Where will I live after? What will it be like?

The questions about the future at that age are endless.

I didn’t know then what I do now, and a lot has happened since.

If I have any advice for the upcoming graduates it is this: Weigh out your decisions carefully. The decisions you make in the next few years of your life may likely determine the rest of your life.

That applies to friends, college and your career.

Having said that, I know that we all make mistakes, myself included. But it sure is easier to avoid them if you can.

It may be a given, but think long and hard about some of these choices. It may not seem like a big deal now, but looking back in 10 years you’ll be able to see how those decisions set you up for either success or failure. Strive for success.


Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.