15 Tips for High School Graduates!

Congratulations! High School diploma’s are being handed out in communities near and far this time of year. Here are a few tips to share with a recent graduate!

Article written by: Ted Spiker

Time-wise, the transition from high school to college may only span a few months. But the big bridge—the one in which the world starts expecting more adult, less kid—can be a shaky one. With more free time (and will), students are as likely to make mistakes as they are to take college for what it should be: opportunities available, challenges accepted.

To cross that bridge successfully, it’s not always about memorizing facts, writing papers, and meeting deadlines. It’s about the extras—the mindset and strategies that will help students explore, engage, and excel. Drawing from my more than 20 years in higher education, as well as collected wisdom from peers and students, here are the most effective tactics that incoming college freshmen can use to succeed.

  1. Your brain is not your day planner. The life skill you’ll need to master in college is prioritization. That skill develops when you can see what’s coming next month, next week, tomorrow, in 10 minutes, #ohwaitthatpaperisduetoday. With so many moving parts in college, you simply can’t afford to stay unorganized. Students get in academic trouble when they panic. They panic when they don’t prepare. I don’t care what method you use to keep your calendar (app or paper), as long as it’s not a Sharpie mark on your palm.
  2. To get plugged in, unplug. Maximize your connections through all of your social media platforms and digital tools. But for meaningful contacts that will help you develop, put down the phone. Look up. Raise your hand. Speak. Ask. Listen.
  3. Your most valuable currency: ideas. We’re in a world where lots of your peers have the same skills you do. The X factor: Who has the better idea? The front end of a project (time spent developing an original idea) is as crucial as the back end (time spent executing it).
  4. Syllabus = law.Not all profs will handcuff you when you deviate, but it’s best to assume that they will. Read the contract.
  5. Handwritten thank you notes > emails > likes. The new-school communication methods are efficient and effective. Old-school ones show that you care enough to do a little extra. It’s a tangible way to explain your intangibles.
  6. Relationships > GPAs.* Unless you’re planning on going to graduate school, grades should feel secondary to the process of working with your peers and professors. I would rather you came into my office and to ask me about the artifact on my desk than to fight about .08 points that will mean zippo to your career success. When you show you care about performance more than points, it’s the signal to me—and thus to the future employers I talk to about you—that you’re the kind of person they want on their team.*Do not use this to excuse your absence from class or lowering your GPA standards!
  1. Think of college as seven years. Your networking opportunities don’t stop with professors, internship supervisors, and alums. As a freshman, you should network with the people in your class and the three years ahead of you. As a senior, you should build relationships with the people three years behind you. That’s seven years of people who could be potentials bosses and connections.
  2. It’s OK to say “no.”High-achievers want to do it all. Don’t. Despite many examples otherwise, the world wants you to do 15 things well rather than 50 things sloppily.
  3. Learn a foreign language. In high school, you likely took a foreign language such as Spanish or Chinese or German. Now, expand what it means to speak and work in a new world. Word people could learn computer programming. Money majors could learn the art of effective writing. You stand out when you’re fluent in an area where your peers aren’t.
  4. Create a digital hub.Put all of your best work and your social accounts in one place. Employers want to see your personal brand in a sort of digital elevator pitch.
  5. Find a workout pal.Part of stress management is time management. Part of it is having enough energy to do quality work. While it’s inevitable that you will sometimes eat at the $2.99 buffet and pull all-nighters, you need good food, regular exercise, and lots of sleep. This non-academic priority will improve your academic ones.
  6. Success = style + substance. No matter your field, college is about developing your skills and talents. That’s substance. Now, how unique is your voice, your personality, your creativity when it comes to your skill set? That’s style. In a world when a lot of people have a lot of talent, it’s the difference between being hired and having your resume tossed.
  7. Your goal: one deep dive. If I’m talking to an intro course of hundreds of people, I’ll ask them two questions. One, when you graduate, will you have the skills that everybody else in the room does? They’ll need to be able to answer “yes.” And two, will you be able to do something that nobody else in the room can do? If that answer is also “yes,” you’ve just discovered the secret to excelling: Find an area of specialty where you can develop depth; that’s what makes you uniquely positioned to help an employer. Be nimble enough to do a lot of things, but deep enough to do one thing better than anyone else.
  8. Play. Do it when you’re not working. Do it when you are working.

  9. Make your secret sauce. The greatest compliment you can receive from a professor, pro, or peer isn’t “great work!” or “that’s perfect!” It’s this: “How in the world did you do that?” Wow us with your creativity, wow us with your ideas, wow us with your execution in ways we can’t imagine. We may not know what goes into your secret sauce, but we do know that we want more of it.




World No Tobacco Day 2017: Beating tobacco for health, prosperity, the environment and national development

Action to stamp out tobacco use can help countries prevent millions of people falling ill and dying from tobacco-related disease, combat poverty and, according to a first-ever WHO (World Health Organization) report, reduce large-scale environmental degradation.

On World No Tobacco Day 2017, WHO is highlighting how tobacco threatens the development of nations worldwide, and is calling on governments to implement strong tobacco control measures. These include banning marketing and advertising of tobacco, promoting plain packaging of tobacco products, raising excise taxes, and making indoor public places and workplaces smoke-free.

Tobacco’s health and economic costs

Tobacco use kills more than 7 million people every year and costs households and governments over US$ 1.4 trillion through healthcare expenditure and lost productivity.

“Tobacco threatens us all,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air.”

Dr Chan adds: “But by taking robust tobacco control measures, governments can safeguard their countries’ futures by protecting tobacco users and non-users from these deadly products, generating revenues to fund health and other social services, and saving their environments from the ravages tobacco causes.”

All countries have committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to strengthen universal peace and eradicate poverty. Key elements of this agenda include implementing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and by 2030 reducing by one third premature death from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart and lung diseases, cancer, and diabetes, for which tobacco use is a key risk factor.

Tobacco scars the environment

The first-ever WHO report, Tobacco and its environmental impact: an overview, also shows the impact of this product on nature, including:

  • Tobacco waste contains over 7000 toxic chemicals that poison the environment, including human carcinogens.
  • Tobacco smoke emissions contribute thousands of tons of human carcinogens, toxicants, and greenhouse gases to the environment. And tobacco waste is the largest type of litter by count globally.
  • Up to 10 billion of the 15 billion cigarettes sold daily are disposed in the environment.
  • Cigarette butts account for 30–40% of all items collected in coastal and urban clean-ups.

Tobacco threatens women, children, and livelihoods

Tobacco threatens all people, and national and regional development, in many ways, including:

  • Poverty: Around 860 million adult smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. Many studies have shown that in the poorest households, spending on tobacco products often represents more than 10% of total household expenditure – meaning less money for food, education and healthcare.
  • Children and education: Tobacco farming stops children attending school. 10%–14% of children from tobacco-growing families miss class because of working in tobacco fields.
  • Women: 60%–70% of tobacco farm workers are women, putting them in close contact with often hazardous chemicals.
  • Health: Tobacco contributes to 16% of all noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) deaths.

Taxation: a powerful tobacco control tool

“Many governments are taking action against tobacco, from banning advertising and marketing, to introducing plain packaging for tobacco products, and smoke-free work and public places,” says Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for NCDs and Mental Health. “But one of the least used, but most effective, tobacco control measures to help countries address development needs is through increasing tobacco tax and prices.”

Governments collect nearly US$ 270 billion in tobacco excise tax revenues each year, but this could increase by over 50%, generating an additional US$ 141 billion, simply from raising taxes on cigarettes by just US$ 0.80 per pack (equivalent to one international dollar) in all countries. Increased tobacco taxation revenues will strengthen domestic resource mobilization, creating the fiscal space needed for countries to meet development priorities under the 2030 Agenda.

“Tobacco is a major barrier to development globally;” says Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Department for the Prevention on NCDs. “Tobacco-related death and illness are drivers of poverty, leaving households without breadwinners, diverting limited household resources to purchase tobacco products rather than food and school materials, and forcing many people to pay for medical expenses.”

“But action to control it will provide countries with a powerful tool to protect their citizens and futures,” Dr Bettcher adds.

World Health Organization notes

Tobacco-related illness is one of the biggest public health threats the world faces, killing more than 7 million people a year. But tobacco use is one of the largest preventable causes of noncommunicable diseases.

Tobacco control represents a powerful tool in improving health in communities and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG target 3.4 is to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one third by 2030, including cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes.

Another SDG target, 3.a, calls for implementation of the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). The WHO FCTC entered into force in 2005, and its Parties are obliged to take a number of steps to reduce demand and supply for tobacco products. Actions addressed in the Convention include protecting people from exposure to tobacco smoke; banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; banning sales to minors; requiring health warnings on tobacco packaging; promoting tobacco cessation; increasing tobacco taxes; and creating a national coordinating mechanism for tobacco control. There are 180 Parties to the Convention.

For more information, please contact:

Paul Garwood
WHO Department of Communications
Telephone: +41 22 791 15 78
Mobile: +41 79 603 72 94
Email: garwoodp@who.int

Christian Lindmeier
WHO Department of Communications
Telephone: +41 22 791 1948
Mobile: +41 79 500 6552
Email: lindmeierch@who.int

Website link Click Here

Drug Drop Box

Two times each year the SACK Coalition and the Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office participate in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at Coborn’s Pharmacy in Mora. The most recent event was held on April 29th and just under 50 pounds of drugs were collected!

Drugs collected from National Take Back Day and from the Drug Drop Box site are transported by a Kanabec County Deputy to a facility in Alexandria, MN where they are incinerated.

In the past year Kanabec County has collected 1080 lbs of unused, expired, or unwanted drugs! 

Kanabec County has a 24/7/365 Drug Drop Box located in the Kanabec County Jail Lobby! Safe. Confidential. Convenient. More information can be located here.

The DEA’s National Drug Take Back Day takes place each April and October. 

Sticker Shock!

“Sticker Shock”, and annual activity held at Mora’s North Country Bottle Shop took place on Thursday, May 25th just ahead of Memorial Day festivities, graduations and other celebration as a reminder of the legal consequences of hosting or serving alcohol to minors. SACK Coalition members, Christine Sand, Sandy Juettner, and Brian Smith were on hand and helped future Mora High School Above the Influence (ATI) recruits place over 2000 stickers on alcoholic beverages that might be appealing to underage drinkers.

Thanks to North Country Bottle Shop for allowing us to come in and spread awareness! 


Is the Party at YOUR House?

With graduation approaching and summer weddings and other events imminent, its a good time to review our local Social Host Ordinance. 

Under Minnesota law, it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years to possess any alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume it at a place other than the household of the person’s parent or guardian.  In almost all other cases of underage drinking, someone has broken a law. The Social Host Ordinance provides for criminal liability for those who provide a place for underage drinking, regardless of where the alcohol comes from. Violation of the social host ordinance is a crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.

Consuming or possessing alcohol while under the age of 21 is a violation of Minnesota law. However, usually for that violation to occur, a third party must also have broken a law. Some obvious offenders are adults who buy alcohol for, or provide alcohol to, an underage person, or who loan their driver’s license or identification card to an underage person for the purpose of purchasing alcohol.  

Not as readily apparent is the adult who allows an underage person to possess or consume alcohol on his or her property.  The Kanabec County Board of Commissioners and the City of Mora adopted the Social Host Ordinance with the intent of holding those adults responsible when they are aware of underage drinking on their property and allow it to occur.

Prior to the adoption of the social host ordinance, state laws contained a loophole, whereby individuals who hosted a party for underage drinkers escaped liability if these social hosts did not actually provide the alcohol. The social host ordinance was intended to close this gap.

It is the shared goal of the Office of the Kanabec County Attorney, Office of the Kanabec County Sheriff and the Substance Abuse Coalition of Kanabec County (SACK) to keep our youth and young adults, and all community members safe as we enjoy this summer.

Click Here for more information about the Social Host!