Today marks a special feat.
Many of the town's youths are graduating from Moffat County High School. No doubt many will receive numerous gifts at various parties. There will be cards with wise information, or at the very least cards with wisecracks.
Class of 2007, the editorial board congratulates you.
But we, too, have parting gifts of advice for those of you meandering off to college; a top 10 list of advice you will not get elsewhere.
1. Save money, make sure you have your parents' gas card. It's supposed to be just for gas, but convenience stores can be your meal ticket, especially when you have to fend for yourself for the first time. No more meals from mom when you get home, but the overcooked hot dog in the roller machine might just get you by.
2. So you find yourself with a significant other, and you want to do something special for her or him. But again, the ATM machine known as your parents is nowhere to be found. There still is a place you can go to get some flowers -- the local cemetery. Even better, most of the time, the flowers are already pre-wrapped for you.
3. Wait. Forget that last one. It's just in bad taste (unless of course you're real desperate). The real question is, why have a significant other while in college? You're young, you're hip, you're a little different. Whomever you're trying to attract will dig that. We're not saying don't date or fall in love, but just don't rush in. If someone loves you today, and you think you're going to spend the rest of your life with him or her, that love will still be there in two, five, 10 or so years down the road.
4. Take as many clothes as you can to college. Ensure you can get by for as long as possible without doing laundry. Then one day, when you smell your shirt to see if it's "clean," your nose will know that it's not. At that point, it's time to load up the car and visit the parents, because, well, you missed them. "And by the way mom, can you help me with the laundry?" Of course, she will. She's glad to see her little baby back home.
5. So you're a freshman at college. You can be anything you want to be, but there is one thing you don't want to be: a freshman. Upperclassmen in the school will likely be able to tell by the glazed look on your face, the campus map in your hands, with you muttering, "Where exactly is Room 202?" Shake it off. You don't want to be the guy who buys an elevator pass for a one-story building off the advice of a "concerned" upperclassman.
6. This one is serious. No matter how cool the free T-shirt looks, do not, we repeat, DO NOT sign up for the thousands of credit card offers to be thrown at you the first couple of days at school. Yeah, the shirt maybe stylin', and the credit card will feel like free money, but trust us, the shirt will soon rip and you will find out all to well that the money is not free.
7. There is a day when everyone on campus is happy. People run around hugging each other, giving high fives, asking each other "you coming over to my place," and screaming things such as "I got paid." No, they did not get paid. They got their student loan money. For many going to college, it is the first time they will literally have thousands of dollars at their disposal. This is not the time to go buy an X-Box. Just like credit cards, these loans have to be paid back. Be smart. Take out what you need and budget it accordingly. And then go party with an idiot who isn't as wise with money as you.
8. If you think buying college books that are already highlighted by a previous student will help, go for it. And in a year, you will find this out -- the previous dude flunked out. The point: You get out of college what you put into it. Don't take short cuts.
9. So you made it through your first semester, and it is book buy back time. But buying books and returning them is a lesson in life -- sometimes you get screwed. Yeah, the book cost $250 when you bought it three months ago, but the lady behind the counter tells you she can only buy it back for $25. You either keep a book you will not likely open again or you take $25, because your sick of eating Top Ramen, and you want to live the good life with an expensive meal, such as a Taco Bell special No. 3.
10. You and your parents need to bang out an honest financial plan before going to college. College can be one of the greatest times in your life. It also can be a costly mistake if you don't have a plan in place before you go.
The editorial board has one last bit of free advice: Take time to find out who you are. These are the years you will start to think for yourself. There is no need to be in too big of a hurry.
After all, Class of 2007, the future is yours.