5 tips for graduating seniors: a summer to remember

by Jordan Green

To all the graduating high school seniors: Congratulations on making it through the easiest chapter of your life! It’s all uphill from here. That might seem a little negative at first. But as someone who walked across the graduation stage only two years ago, I can say it’s true. For some, the stress of college or trade school awaits.

For others, the cruel reality of holding down a full-time job beckons. With just one last summer to go before your world changes completely, Graduates, what are you to do? More than anything, I’d like to tell you to enjoy this last high school summer break. After I graduated from high school, I spent my summer working at two jobs I love: as a reporter for The Blackwell Journal-Tribune, of course, and as a track maintainer for the local railroad.

Both of these jobs allowed me to make great friends, and they allowed me to set some money aside to spend during college. I enjoyed the summer of 2019, and I feel like I made the most of it, to be cliché. I’d encourage you to do the same this summer. Unlike the unlucky graduates of 2020, you are walking into a different world.

One where most everything has returned to normal, especially here in Oklahoma, where most businesses have reopened. Now’s the time to check some activities off your bucket list, have fun and relax as you prepare to become adults.

Here are a few suggestions I offer for those who want to be productive and have fun this summer.

1. Find a good job (or two). Yes, let’s get this one out of the way. Summer jobs are a helpful way to save money. Right now, jobs are aplenty here in the Sooner State. Check the classifieds of this newspaper and look online for jobs around Blackwell. You’ll be able to learn new skills no matter where you work, and the feeling of being more independent is satisfying. But here’s the caveat: Don’t work your summer away. While I stayed busy for most of the summer, I still made time for my senior trip with my family and hanging out with friends. Even if you’re not going anywhere exciting, set aside time to be lazy or go on a staycation. You’ll one day wish you had more time to do these things.

2. Take a road trip with friends. Once you’re bringing home the bacon from those summer jobs, search for fun destinations across the region to visit. For the artsy, several captivating museums are in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas. For the outdoorsy, visit one of our numerous state parks or take a trip down the state’s new fishing trail. You can even take a drive down Route 66 and easily find dozens of landmarks to visit. These are just a few ideas to get you started.

3. Visit family members. When you’re in a job or in school, time seems to escape at an ever-increasing rate. Use your “free” time to see your grandparents and other relatives. As someone who has lost some good friends lately, I can’t stress enough just how important spending time with your loved ones is. Do it while you can.

4. Keep reevaluating your plans for the future. It’s not too late to change course. You might decide to go to a different college, change your major or look for a different job. If change is tugging at your heartstrings, listen. Now is the time to put some deep thought into what you want to do with the rest of your life. And don’t be afraid of the thought of change, either. To some, stability seems more natural. To others, it’s not. Everyone is different, and that’s OK. Just keep thinking about what you want to do next, and be willing to change. Talk to people around you – friends, family members, teachers – and seek their advice as well.

5. Finally, do whatever else I haven’t mentioned here – as long as it’s safe and legal. My idea of a perfect summer is surely different from yours, so forge your own trail through the vast wilderness of freedom that lies before you. Make this summer one to remember. You’ll be glad you did.