Wayne County Outlook …

Posted May 19, 2020 at 12:52 pm

Our graduating seniors deserve a mulligan

I come from a family of great golfers, and, to be honest, I am an average to an occasionally lousy golfer. I find myself resorting mostly to golf scrambles wherein my strength lies in contributing the occasional chip shot or putt to a foursome. The saving grace to my game is the comfort of pulling a mulligan. If a mulligan can be secured, I typically use it off the first tee!

Graduating seniors, I wish each of you were given a mulligan over the past three months. Each one of you, and your families, deserve a ‘do-over’ or another shot from what this virus has taken away. Whether you were a student-athlete, a performer on the stage, a musician, an academic, career/tech-focused, a free spirit, or an introvert… something was taken from you that will never be given back.

I know it isn’t fair, and my heart breaks for you. I have felt nothing but empathy for you during this time. COVID-19 is akin to the Kubler-Ross stages of grief…denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. You have undoubtedly felt all stages and will continue to as we get through this pandemic together.

In a world currently filled with more questions than certainties, please know that you will learn more from this era than future generations will be able to comprehend. You face adversity head-on. You are maturing quickly as young adults, and I respect you for this. You are growing up in more ways than you could have ever imagined. You have grown closer to your family, faith, and learned substantial life lessons. I understand these are just words, and words alone, but please know that your community empathizes with you as we simultaneously celebrate with you.

As a college and graduate school professor, I always left a challenge for my departing students. Here are just a few notes to consider as you begin your new pathway in higher education, military service, the workforce, or wherever you are led:

1. Constructive criticism is not personal, it’s helpful. Advice from a superior or red ink comments from a professor can be life lessons that will benefit you in more ways than one.

2. Own it. We all screw up and make mistakes, but you will learn more from accepting responsibility than by throwing the victim card.

3. Disagree, but with respect. Our society has lost the ability to converse politely and with civility when faced with debate-worthy topics. Be informed, be kind, and be civil.

Like golf, life can be frustrating. Even after years of hard work and patience, 2020 caused many of you to miss out on a final sports season, prom, graduation ceremony, and the like. You absolutely deserve a second chance to experience those moments, but there is strength and admiration in not taking a mulligan and playing it as it lies.

Class of 2020, I commend you for your perseverance as you’ve adapted to these challenging circumstances. Your graduation is genuinely celebrated, and I encourage you to hug your loved ones and thank a teacher or staff member for getting you to this point.

Congratulations to each of you on your accomplishments. I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors.

If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call the toll-free line at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at Max.Wise@LRC.ky.gov.

Note: Senator Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) represents the 16th District which encompasses Adair, Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Russell, Taylor, and Wayne Counties. He is the chairman of the Education Committee; as well as co-chairman of the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee. Senator Wise is also a member of the Senate Economic Development, Tourism and Labor Committee; the Health and Welfare Committee; the Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection Committee; the Public Assistance Reform Task Force; the Budget Review Subcommittee on Economic Development and Tourism, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, and the Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation.