Say thanks before you walk

To the Editor:

Seniors, it’s that time of year again. Graduation. The long-awaited culmination of your educational career is less than two weeks away. Where are you going, and what are you going to do? Many of you may have jobs lined up and many of you may take a little time to figure it out. But before you leave school in the dust, I want to leave you with one piece of advice. Take a look back and thank the people that have helped you get where you are today.

As a recent graduate who moved to a small, conservative town in Nebraska, I have had countless hours to think back about college and the time I spent there. As I sat alone in my little apartment I realized what a big impact the people I met in college had on my life. I realized that if it hadn’t been for a handful of people I met, my life would have taken a completely different direction.

When I started school I was an education major for no reason other than the fact I knew I could find a job teaching after school. It was safe. But I happened to meet one girl, who now happens to be my best friend, on the first day of college and we instantly clicked. She convinced me to start working for The Eagle, and I spent countless hours in that newsroom. That led me to meeting The Eagle’s adviser, Michael Kennedy.

He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself and convinced me to change my major to journalism. I was hesitant at first, but then I realized that journalism was a much better fit for me than a classroom would ever be. I switched majors and began to get more and more involved with the paper.

My sister saw my passion for journalism and connected me with the editor of the Nebraska Cattleman’s Magazine who gave me the opportunity to write a series of feature stories to be published over the course of a year. I also had the chance to write a few stories for the Chadron Record while still finishing school.

None of these things were planned, but they all led me to where I am today. After sitting in quiet Aurora, I realized that I had not thanked any of the people who had completely changed the direction of my life. I had taken it all in stride, not realizing what an impact they had all made. I started to feel like I had taken advantage of these people and the opportunities they had helped me find.

It took me a couple months to realize that I needed to reach out and say thank you to everyone who had helped me on my way. My advice to you is to take a moment before you walk across that stage and say thank you to all the people in your own life who have changed your course or aided you in your journey, no matter how big a hand they played.

Respectfully,

Janelle Kesterson

Aurora

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