Another school year is coming to a close, and with it comes graduation for a new class of students at area schools.

Before this year’s graduating class steps out into the real world on their own, moves away to college or starts new jobs, we’d like to offer some practical advice for them to keep in mind during the coming years:

• Although you’re going to be out of high school, remember that learning never ends. Seek out opportunities to expand your knowledge. You’ll thank yourself later.

• Think hard before making decisions, and don’t let anyone influence you. Keep in mind that decisions can have life-altering effects.

• Remember trades are important. College is not always the way to go, and that’s OK.

• Understand what it means to build credit, and what all goes into affecting it — positively and negatively. Research different types of credit cards when the time comes to get one and educate yourself on what the different fees and charges mean so you’re not setting yourself up for failure or for an unnecessary struggle.

• Be nice to the geeks in college. They may someday be your boss.

• Learn the basics of taking care of your car, filling air into your car tires and checking and adding oil.

• Make sure to learn some basic life skills such as how to prepare a couple of meals, how to clean and do laundry.

• Pay attention to your body and health. If something feels wrong, seek advice. Don’t ignore warning signs. Exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.

• Try not to post your entire life online. Again, you’ll thank yourself later.

• Thank your parents. And thank them again. They have been through so much with you the past few years. From your 15-year-old self who “knows everything” to spending $500 or more on homecoming or prom. They deserve a thanks.

• Find a way to be active in your community no matter where you live. Communities happen because we all participate. You have great ideas, and any group would be lucky to have you. Be a positive agent for change.

• Set goals. Whether you will be entering the workforce, attending college or doing a little bit of both, try to set goals for your life. Work to be a little better tomorrow than you were today.

• Remember everyone makes mistakes. When you do, brush yourself off, promise yourself to become a better person and move ahead in doing so.

• Keep in mind your life is just beginning. If you didn’t like who you were in high school, now is the time to start over.

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