Make sure your past doesn’t find a way to haunt your future

Brooke McGee, Clarion Opinions Editor

When you think of college, the first thoughts that come to mind may be of dormitories, frat parties and pizza. It may also be of late night study sessions, crowded cafeterias and stale coffee. What some don’t think of is a murky shadow which may loom over your head for far too long, tainting your future and possibly hindering the dreams which you once had.

All too often we see in the media a surfaced photograph which was take on a drunken night. Videos which an individual once consented to are suddenly on YouTube and the blossoming political career of a rising youth is suddenly shattered. Ladies, if you ever plan on running for Miss America, you better be sure that not one potential photograph was taken which could tarnish your role-model image, especially for, ehem, Penthouse magazine.

Yes, as unfortunate as it is, the past can and does come back to haunt you.

Imagine yourself five years from now, possible married, possibly with children. You have secured an excellent position in the field that you graduated from and are hoping to move up the corporate ladder. You are away from your computer for a few days and when you return you discover a Facebook photo that an acquaintance posted of you from six years ago, in all your college glory.

Did I mention that your co-workers were your “friends?”

Perhaps yours could unfold a different way. Imagine that your new soon-to-be in- laws Google you. It’s not hard to imagine, people do this all the time. However, the one weekend that you had hoped to keep private is suddenly the topic of a Skype conversation, much to your humiliation.

The things that are posted on Facebook may not go away. The photos that are snapped hastily with a cell phone may very well be forwarded. And saved. And uploaded. Even that posed picture you did for humor may not be quite so explainable a few years down the road with different individu- als. Add a uniform and a stressful situation and you might have a dishonorable discharge on your hands if there is a camera present.

In other areas, a tattoo that you put in a dis- played area may not fit the lifestyle that you will be leading eight years from now. Additionally, even your grades will come back and remind you, over and over again, how you performed when you pursued your degree.

One bad choice to drink and drive may affect your ability to have transportation to school or work. Reliable transportation and a valid driver’s license is often a bare minimum in employer expectations for new hires. Not attending classes as frequently due to transportation difficulties could easily affect your GPA, and transcript.

Are you aware that many employees request copies of your transcript upon hire? They do this to verify the credentials and education that you lay claim to, and to additionally see your areas of study and GPA.

It is natural to make an association between how a young adult applies themselves at an institution of higher learning and how they may apply themselves to a career.

The choices that you make now will undoubtedly affect your future. Whether or not that is in a positive light is entirely up to you and the way that you conduct yourself.

College is a time for making memories, but it is also the beginning of (or a fresh start) to the rest of your life. What you do during this time will impact your future. We all make inappropriate choices at times, young or old. We all have regrets. That impact can be lessened significantly though when you use foresight.

Each individual is entitled to live and learn and make bad decisions in order to grow as a person and experience life. In all reality though, as adults, the repercussions of those choices can only be assigned to ourselves. Our close friends and family may not judge you by the occasional poor choice that you make, but just remember, those people are not the rest of the world.