A recent visit by Dr. Mark E. Keenum, president of Mississippi State University, reminded us why we get up and come to school everyday.
Dr. Keenum spoke to Grenada High School juniors and seniors about the benefits of earning a college degree — especially one from MSU — and entering the work force in a position of leadership, armed with a first-rate education from Grenada Schools and an endorsement from one of our state's many fine institutions of higher learning.
"The world is changing and seeking leaders," he told students. "That's you."
Somewhere along the course of his or her high school career, a student wakes up and realizes, Hey, I'm almost an adult. He or she feels an imperative to let go of childish things and superficial priorities and begins to concentrate on securing a future.
Sometimes, admittedly, a student needs a little push toward maturity. It's easy to be-come complacent and shirk the responsibili-ties of growing up. No matter who you are, it's an intimidating transition from the local and familiar to the complex world of college and adulthood.
If you're a senior this year and still sitting on the fence about college, don't leave your future up to chance. Take a long look in the mirror and decide who you want to see there in five years. It's not too late to get into a good college, but you should be prepared to spend the next two months scrambling to meet deadlines.
At Grenada Schools, we have counselors and teachers who are willing to help. That's why we're all here! We want to give you a leg up in the world, just as our elders did for us when we were your age. Sometimes it may seem like parents and teachers are hassling you to get serious about life, but ask any successful adult and they'll almost certainly tell you, "Once you enter the real world, you'll get it!"
Ideally, students who aspire to college will start planning as soon as they enter high school. There's a lot of preparation for college, not least of which is participation in challenging classes and making good grades. Like Dr. Keenum said, "Grades matter. It reflects your work ethic and self-value."
You should take the ACT multiple times to get the highest score you can, and build your high school resume to portray yourself as a leader and a fearless learner. As you progress through high school, you'll begin to have a better idea of your interests. Re-search which schools will best prepare you for your desired occupation. Take advantage of our dual-credit classes and begin to ac-cumulate college credits.
Once you choose a college — or apply to several — you'll want to visit the campus, explore scholarship and financial aid oppor-tunities, secure letters of recommendation, and prepare to fill out a lot of paperwork.Finally, after graduation and the anticipation of freshman year, you may experience a degree of anxiety about performing on the college level. You may even start to convince yourself you're not up to the challenge.
But don't worry. Fortunately, yet another transition occurs in college. A determined student recognizes how much work is required and develops an iron will. The temptations of freedom are ever present, but so is the desire to buckle down and get serious about learning. Taking on this responsibility, you'll begin to understand what your teachers and parents were hassling you about all those years!
We're coming upon the two-week holiday break. Take this free time to think seriously about your future. While visiting with family and friends, ask someone older than you what their experience has taught them. Ask them what advice they would give to someone your age, standing at the crossroads between high school and adulthood.
Then decide what's best for your life and commit to it. And take Dr. Keenum's advice.
"Don't waste your blessings," he told GHS students. "Use your education here as a foundation. You can build on this to go further than you imagine."