5.17.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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It’s easy to forget. I forget things all the time. In fact, I forget things so easily that I am pretty sure our sales director Danny Garcia uses it against me. He’ll say I approved something in a conversation we never had knowing that I will assume we had the conversation and I don’t remember it. It works for us.

I also get so caught up in day to day “adulting” that I forget what it’s like to be alone in a new city, to start a new relationship, to be a kid or to plan for college. All of which I have been reminded of this past month, and I love it.

This past week I had the honor of sitting on the review committee for students applying for The 49 Fund Scholarships. It’s a program started by Orlando attorney Barry Miller to honor the memory of the 49 lives taken at Pulse by providing financial assistance to future LGBTQ leaders attending college.

Students have recently been in the news and the forefront of making movement on sensible gun control following the tragic shooting at Parkland High School. It was a privilege to meet like-minded students who are at the forefront of LGBTQ issues. Some of these students had a thing or two to teach those of us on the review committee. They reestablished hope for our future. They were inspiring and revived memories in me that I thought were long gone.

In this trip down memory lane, I’ve also been reminded of the good and bad decisions I made in my college career, along with some outright mistakes. It inspired me to compile this list of unsolicited and sometimes valuable advice for those just starting out in college, continuing their education or who are just looking to reboot their path.

1: Change is good. I mean that literally and figuratively. Keep your change and roll your pennies. You’re going to be a poor student and will need all the help you can get. Also, go with the flow. Your whole world is about to open up. The more you learn about the world, the more you will learn about yourself. I spent most of my college career thinking I would be a theater teacher. After observing one sixth grade drama class, my eyes were opened and my major changed.

2: Meet everyone. We have a tendency to gravitate to what is comfortable and easily relatable. Step outside of your comfort zone. This is the best opportunity to expand your mind and hear what so many types of people have to offer the world, especially those who think differently than you. You might not just be opening your mind, but making the world a better place. Do it now and you will develop a skill that will take you further in life. I had an opportunity to travel abroad for a semester and I chose not to. I’ve always regretted that decision.

3: Give credit where credit is due. Learn your history so you can make a better tomorrow. Many people made many mistakes in the past, so pay attention and don’t make the same mistakes. Also, stay away from credit cards if you can’t afford to pay the bill. They are real money; they just don’t look like it. You’ll have enough debt with student loans, which is also real money and should be treated that way. I deferred my payments for a decade. Bad idea!

4: A little goes a long way. Moderate what feels good, or it will catch up with you. You’re away from home and there are no rules. You can eat what you want, drink what you want and do who you want. You’re young, so enjoy it. Just keep it healthy-ish. Throw in a salad sometimes, set the bottle down a day or two a week and wrap it with whatever you need to make sex safe. Remember, even if you’re on PReP, there’s still a lot that can go wrong.

5: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Respect yourself and respect others. It takes no time at all to earn a reputation, but it takes years to change it.

In this issue of Watermark we take an exclusive look at Robin Maynard-Harris’ time as the lead CSI investigator on the Caylee Anthony case as the 10-year mark of her disappearance approaches. We also bring you highlights of the interim Pulse memorial in Central Florida news. Mayoral hopeful Jane Castor opens up about her Tampa candidacy and we check in with Bianca Del Rio and Lakeland’s Butch Queens for our Arts and Entertainment coverage. Our Last Page returns this issue with insight on columnist Miguel Fuller.

We strive to bring you a variety of stories, your stories. I hope you enjoy this latest issue.

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