Make the most of what's ahead
Our county's seniors have been unleashed into society.
Most of them will take the summer off before heading to college, to work or to trade school.
It's the last break these young women and men will get until the big break – death or retirement.
For the local students headed to college, I hope you realize that being a college student is about much more than learning.
Academics are the single most important thing about going to college, but it's not the only important thing. College life is an experience, from the classroom to the quad.
I'd like to offer a few tips as someone who's been where you're headed now.
Get outside your comfort zone
When I was a junior at UAB, I joined the school's ultimate frisbee team. I know you don't usually see the words ultimate and frisbee together in the same sentence. I didn't even know what it was when I signed up. Ultimate frisbee is part soccer and part football, but you play it with a frisbee.
It's more running than anything you'll ever do in your life, but with the right group of people, it's incredibly fun. My biggest regret here is not joining sooner.
Get a job
Come on. Your parents can't tote the note for everything and a little schedule juggling makes you a stronger person.
Don't take on so much that your grades suffer but the culture shock when you enter the "real world" won't be so significant after graduation.
Show some school spirit
Alabama and Auburn aren't the only schools in the state with quality sports. I was there when the UAB football team upset LSU in 2000. That win is still probably the biggest one in the school's history. I was also a spectator when UAB upset Kentucky in the 2004 men's NCAA tournament. I still closely follow Blazer athletics and find that the longer I've been out of college, the more closely I follow the team.
Join a club
Intramural sports, the young Democrats or Republicans, a fraternity or sorority…the possibilities are endless. There's a collegiate club for just about everything. They're a great way to meet new people and it's also a great way to truly investigate your interests.
Back in 2000 an electrical engineering major decided to join the staff of his college newspaper to make some extra money. He later changed his major to journalism and he has been the publisher of the Franklin County Times for almost two years.
In fact, you're reading that guy's column right now.
College is part of a path to self-discovery and I hope each of you use the next few years to the best of your ability.