Advice to graduates: Don’t limit your options


We have had the good fortune to attend several high school graduation parties this year, and we have a few more on the calendar to attend. Graduation parties are fun as they are filled with a sense of accomplishment and excitement about the future.

I have great memories of graduating from Buckeye Valley High School many years ago. We had a really good class, and I enjoy seeing my classmates from time to time.

I think it is safe to say many of my classmates were surprised when I became a judge. My path to becoming a judge was certainly not a straight line.

When I graduated from Buckeye Valley, my plan was to attend The Ohio State University. After that I was going to return to work on the family farm.

While I did get my undergraduate degree from OSU in Agricultural Economics, my plans changed the summer before my senior year of college.

One day, dad and I took a break from working on the farm and were eating a lunch that mom packed for us. We were sitting in dad’s truck on a lane in the middle of the woods. Dad told me that he thought I liked farming but that he did not think it was something I loved.

Dad went on to say that in his job at the Joint Vocational School (JVS), now known as the Delaware Area Career Center (DACC), he worked with a lot of high school students helping them to find a job placement. He had observed people starting new jobs and people who had worked for years. Dad thought it was easy to spot the people who loved their jobs and the people who did not like their jobs.

Dad told me that he was blessed that he had always loved his job. He said there were days and things about his job that he did not enjoy. But, at the end of the day, he loved what he did. He challenged me to find a career I loved.

When I started my senior year at OSU, I had to take a business law class, as it was required to graduate. I remember loving that class. For the first time in my life I thought about going to law school.

While going to law school, I never planned to work in domestic relations law. I thought I would do estate planning, agricultural law, or something with business planning or tax law.

After graduating from the University of Toledo College of Law, I started my law practice in a one-room office, with no staff, in downtown Delaware. Being a new attorney, I took any case I could get to gain experience practicing law.

I started to do domestic relations law as I wanted to get more experience practicing law. Over a number of years, a large part of my practice became working with domestic relations cases.

Being a judge is a tremendous honor. I love my job. And, I am very grateful to the citizens of Delaware County for the position I hold. I am also very grateful for the lunch I had with my dad, sitting in a truck in the middle of the woods. I do not think I would be a judge today if dad had not given me a gentle nudge to explore other careers.

I often tell people graduating from high school to not limit their options. I encourage them to work hard and explore different career options.

When I graduated from Buckeye Valley High School I would have told you I was going to be a farmer. I never thought I would go to law school. And, I never would have believed I would become a judge.

Congratulations to everyone graduating from high school. I hope you find a career that you love!

Randall D. Fuller is judge of the Domestic Relations Division of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Fuller is a lifelong resident of Delaware County.

No posts to display