Graduates, take time to ponder the long road ahead

An open letter to the class of 2013:

Your day has arrived. You're taking another big step on your life's journey.

You've walked across a stage, received a piece of paper with some engraved letterhead from the educational institution you've attended for what used to seem like forever.

Finally that goal can be checked off. Now is your time to ponder the long road still ahead of you.

Yes, you've been taking advice from all corners in school. Perhaps you took this advice well. Perhaps you're more like some of your friends who, well, don't always heed the wisdom passed on.

But take heed of what comes next and choose wisely and with forethought.

Whether you're finishing your high school or college years, do the things you find fulfilling.

If you're college-bound, seek a major that teaches you the nuances of a field that enriches you.

If you are heading to the work force or seeking further vocational training, look for work that leaves you feeling proud, satisfied and with a sense of accomplishment.

Look at the opportunities out there. Don't settle for the job that may pay you the most money or offers the prestige you think you deserve. Find the life's path that brings you joy and offers you a chance to have a positive impact on others.

Yes, you're entering an uncertain world fraught with risk, maybe even some peril. The jobless picture out there still isn't great but it is getting better. New Mexico's unemployment rate is slightly less than 7 percent and better than the national average.

Don't be discouraged. It might take time for you to hit your occupational stride. Be patient. Persevere. Despite any roadblocks you may encounter, the world is brimming with opportunity.

Remember how you felt at the start of this latest step in your journey? Remember what went through your head as you enrolled as a freshman? The end seemed so far away, right?

Look back over your shoulder now and note how quickly the intervening years have passed.

You've done well to get this far, graduate. Congratulations on completing this leg of your journey.

Just remember it doesn't end here. Your best years are ahead of you.

Make a difference. Make a better world.

And enjoy yourself in the process.

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