Despite the fact that being a senior means that you are at the highest spot on the totem pole and basically all of my peers (myself included) would like to think that they know all that there is to know about life, I learned the most my senior year of high school. As cliche as it sounds, your senior year is the most important time to discover yourself, well, basically, because you have to before college!
So, here's a list of the important...and maybe not as important lessons I learned during my senior year of high school.
1. You don't need to impress everyone.
High school is the worst time for your self esteem. All that anyone cares about is who is dating the hottest boy/girl or who is going to what party. I'm not gonna lie, the first few years of high school, I wanted to fit in with everyone. I wanted everyone to like me. By my senior year, I realized that I already had everyone that I needed in my life. I shouldn't worry about what other people think about me, because the people who matter the most, my friends, already love me!
These girls both rock and are my rock.
As much as I'd like to think that I took advantage of every opportunity to pull an all-nighter with my friends or just hang out and eat copious amounts of food, I know that there are a lot of times where I took everything for granted. Did I go all out at my last pep rally? Did I dance as crazy as I could with my friends at prom? I'll never know, but I do know that I've loved every second of it.
3. Coffee isn't actually so bad.
What used to be my mortal enemy is actually my biggest life support. Yeah, yeah, it's stunts your growth and all, but if you're not living like Lorelai then you're doing it wrong.
4. Children are God's angels sent to Earth.
I mean duh there are some devils out there, but my cousins are by far the exception. Here's an example of why: My cousins spent the night at my house one night. They slept in my bed, and I moved to the couch in the middle of the night. Teagan (the adorable red head) brought me my broccoli stuffed animal (yes, you read that right. i love broccoli, judge me.) in the middle of the night, because she thought I might miss it. They're the reasons I look forward to having kids of my own, and they're the reason I can't help but smile whenever I am with them.
5. Try new things.
From oysters to Star Wars, you never know what you actually might like.
This is a picture of me trying oysters for the first time. Although "like" might be a strong word, I'll have to admit, they weren't as bad as I expected.
6. Don't try so hard to make new friends.
If it's meant to be, they'll come to you! I made an incredible new friend at work, and she actually makes work fun, because I look forward to our hilarious conversations and nonstop laughter. What's great about it all is that Sophia and I are so different, yet so much alike. I don't know if I would've gotten the amazing opportunity to get to know her if it wasn't for our job.
We love this song ^^
7. Road trips with your friends are the best kind of getaways that exist.
This summer, I went on two incredible trips with my friends. They both consisted of stops at wacky roadside attractions. By the way, I highly suggest Hillbilly Garden and Toyland or Apple Valley Ostrich Ranch. People doubted us, but we survived hostels, tropical storms and all! Although we experienced car problems during both, I still wouldn't trade those experiences for the world. There's nothing better than driving for hours, eating junk food and singing to music at the top of your lungs.
8. It's okay to do something crazy.
Okay, so I have to admit, getting my nose pierced may have been driven more by the fact that I could get it done than by me actually wanting to get my nose pierced. But, I don't regret it. I've grown to love it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
9. You can get sunburnt even if it's 9am and overcast.
Just trust me...it's miserable. Sunscreen is your best friend.
10. Life will never again be this easy.
Think about it. Never again will you be able to live at home under the security of your parents roof without being pressured to go out and get a big girl job. ....Now cue the stressing.
11. People are going through the same things as you.
I was a leader of a retreat this past spring, and I never thought that it would be more rewarding for me to lead it as opposed to being on it like I was my junior year. I learned more than ever that there are people out there in this world, even in my school, that are going through the same kind of problems that I am. And honestly, there is no greater feeling than learning that you are not alone. K32 forever.
12. How to make a latte in an espresso machine.
It's actually pretty easy, but it makes me look/feel really cool.
13. Running is my new best friend.
A little over a year ago, I couldn't even run a mile. And if you would've told me that it would soon be my new hobby, I would've thought you were crazy. But now, I actually love it! There's nothing better than running around the park on a beautiful day. But don't get me wrong, you won't see me running obscene distances.
14. It is possible to write a 12 page research paper in one night.
And believe it or not, I did it because I wanted to, not because I had to. This year, more than ever, I found satisfaction with getting long term assignments completed shortly after they were assigned. There's something satisfying about sitting back and relaxing when all of your friends are rushing to get them done.
15. Love is love is love is love.
This year gay marriage was made legal, but on the other hand Trump is threatening to build a wall on the border. Where is the love? I took a world religions class this year which turned out to be one of my favorite classes ever. We have to just accept that people will be different than us but that doesn't mean that they should be treated any differently. Preach it Alicia.
16. Pure bliss can be found in the simplest of things.
Nothing is better than a walk around the park on a sunny day. Or reading your favorite book in a hammock. Or walking on the beach with your friends at the end of an incredible day. Or the laughter of your adorable baby cousin.
17. Telling people how you really feel is better than holding it in.
As a result of being a leader of a Kairos retreat, I had to stand up in front of a bunch of girls and share what I thought Ideals were/are. This meant having to talk about the highs and the lows of my life. Don't get me wrong, it was pretty and weird and quite awkward, but it was a huge relief to be able to talk about my life even to people who didn't really know me.
18. Forget Disney World...the Outer Banks is the most magical place on Earth.
Everyone needs to go to the Outer Banks at least once in their life. The people are great, the beaches are great and the memories are even better.
19. The friend that you always needed the most was always right next to you.
I think sometimes people take others for granted. I never realized how incredible it felt to have someone who says "I'm always here for you" or "We'll get through it together!". Thank you for listening to me vent about everything and for visiting me at work when I needed someone to talk to. You know who you are, and I can't ever thank you enough for all you've done for me.
20. Care less about who others want you to be and more about who you want to be.
The only person you can count on in college is yourself. Be selfish. Be bold. Be brave. In the end you'll regret letting people walk all over you.
21. You don't need boys to have fun.
Going to an all girls school definitely decreased the number of boys I interacted with in high school. Sometimes it sucked, but it also had its perks (like only taking 10 mins to get ready in the morning!). Boys came and went between me and my friends, but most importantly I always had my girls to rely on for a good time. By my senior year, I just accepted that I'll never have a ton of guy friends in high school, but I made the best girl friends...ever. PS. This is a picture of us at prom....going solo...as a "celebration of friendship".
22. It is possible to read 17 books in six months.
As my New Year's resolution this year, I made it my goal to read every Nicholas Sparks book. What can I say, I'm a hopeless romantic! I finished much earlier than planned, because I rekindled a passion for reading. By the way, as an expert on Nicholas Sparks, I highly recommend reading The Guardian.
23. It gets better.
The best is yet to come. Who cares about how popular or not you were in high school? It won't matter in college. Shout out to Jimmy Eat World for saying it perfectly.
24. Chobani Flips Salted Caramel Crunch may be better than ice cream.
Seriously. Try it, i'm obsessed.
25. You can't get everything in a picture.
Recently, I took a trip to Kansas City and we made a stop at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum. There was one particular exhibit that I loved. It was a collection of photographs from various people. One picture struck me as really important. The caption read "you can't get everything in a picture". Who knows what the photographer actually meant by that, but I chose to interpret it my own way. You can post tons of pictures of your life on Instagram or Facebook. But really, you can't get everything in a picture. You can't capture how you felt at that moment or the pure happiness that is radiating off of the peoples' faces. In the future, I can flip through photo albums of my high school days, but I'll never really be able to experience the joy that I felt in the moment. So, enjoy every second of your journey, because you only get to experience it once.