To our graduating seniors:

Congratulations. You have made it.

We are sure there were times your parents wondered if this day would ever come. It has. Relish in it. You will hear words of advice from many this weekend. Allow us to add a few of our own.

The world is before you. But remember, the world does not owe you anything. Life is not always fair. Take responsibility for your actions. More and more people seem to want to blame society, economics, others, their social status and a host of other excuses in order to get out of taking responsibility. Be different. Own up.

Remember that your name is yours and yours alone. Honor it. One of the best ways to do that is to keep your word – even if it becomes uncomfortable or hurts because of some future event. Therefore, be careful in giving your word, but honor that commitment. Be the type that if you say the world is flat, people will pause and think about it.

Choose your friends wisely. You will be known by your friends. True friends will stand by you no matter what. They will actually say “no” to you when needed. They will follow you up the mountaintop of success, but a true friend will also tumble down with you into the deepest valley of failure. To find these types of friends, be one.

Be willing to sign your name to anything you do. Take pride. Be willing to stand up to anyone and simply say “this is my best” and mean it. Never be afraid to ask for help. Seek out mentors, especially those in your chosen field. Ask for their help. A true mentor would be honored. Seek as much advice from as many sources as possible. But, in the end, remember the decision is yours and yours alone.

Remember that work is just that, work. So find something you are interested in and enjoy it. If you don’t, do something else. Work is a part of life, but don’t make your life your work. At the end of your life, no one is going to count how many hours you put into work, but they will remember the hours you put into your life and what you did with them.

Be passionate in everything you do. Anyone can be taught a skill. What employers are looking for is passion, something that can’t be taught. Find something you love and do it, whether it be in your career or hobbies. You have special talents. Discover them. Use them.

Learn to live by the 80-10-10 rule. Give away 10 percent of everything you make to your church or other worthwhile charities. Save 10 percent. Learn to live on the remaining 80 percent.

Learn the difference between a “want” and a “need.” You need to eat, have clothes and shelter. But understand the difference between what you want and what you need. Take care of the have-tos first, then think about the want-tos. Except for major purchase, like a car or house, always be able to pay cash. Avoid credit card debt at all cost.

And finally, on behalf of The Newnan Times-Herald staff, congratulations.

May the odds be ever in your favor.



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