To The Graduating High School Seniors

Dear Class Of 2019, 5 Pieces of Advice To Take To Heart

Every step has lead you to this moment. Keep steppin'!!


First and foremost, congratulations!!

High school is really an interesting time in our lives. It teaches us a lot about who we are and hints at who we will be. Keep evolving. Keep pushing.

1. Your next move is yours and yours alone.

There are so many options for young people post high school. The military, college, trade school, and the general workforce all offer us something. Some people even mix the two by attending college part time whilst upholding a demanding job. However, all of the options are your options. You may not know at 18 what you would like to be doing at 50. Even if you think you do, sometimes you just absolutely do not know. That is okay.

Start with what you do know. What would you like to do now? Take that step. Follow your heart. Listen to advice, but listen to yourself first and foremost.

2. Learn to balance.

No matter what type of progress you choose, you need to learn balance. Trying to live life, study, work hard, travel, pay expenses, and altogether stay on top of things can be hard.

Luckily, the majority of us carry around miniature computers in our back pockets. Use it! Your phone can set reminders of when a bill or assignment is due. You can use the calendar to keep track of midterm days or special events. Also, downloading apps is also an option to help with budgeting, enrichment, self-care, and becoming involved.

3. Try new things.

You have spent the last 12 years of your life under the rule of school, the monotony of your home town, and all the limitations common to you. You owe it to yourself to try new things. Maybe try food from a different region or go to an event hosted by a culture you don't identify with. Check out some museums and learn about new things. Go see movies you weren't allowed to see or stay out past a time you previously were not allowed.

Rules are created with good reason. But if you have good sense, you can break a few rules.

4. Network.

Networking is a crucial component for bettering your life. Whether it's in college, on the job, or even on your travels, connecting to a group of people is critical for advancement. Often people say, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Our world proves that every day when we fill out applications asking us to list references of people that are "credible." You cannot look at someone and tell who is a CEO, doctor, or maybe your next boss. Treat everyone with respect, but most of all, network!!

5. Learn that all you need is you.

We all love the people we grew up around, right? (Remember, you don't have to like someone to love them!) We've spent years getting to know them, and during a change such as this, clinging to whatever is familiar can seem like the right thing to do.

Some of us like to follow others. Maybe it's their charisma or charm or just maybe they've been there for us when no one else has. Although all of that is great, we cannot power up from someone else's charge. See it this way: an iPhone and a Samsung can use the same wifi system, but they cannot both use the same charger. It is the same way with school. Our grade school years are our wifi. Our next step is our charger, gearing us up for the rest of the world.

Do not go to school based on where your friends are going. Do not go to school just because you think others won't support you. Do not let your parents' wishes drive you to another school. Boys, do not feel like going to school is "lame" or not manly enough. Do not limit yourself to a junior college. Do not go to a university if you do not feel ready. And lastly, do not stay in the same place. It does not matter if you feel behind in work, school, or life in general, keep moving. Your pace is your pace. Your field is your field. In 50 years, the opinions you're listening to most likely will not matter anymore. The only earthly approval you will ever need is your own.

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."

It wasn't too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn't want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school" for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You're probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you're like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren't so ready yet. Maybe you're wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You'll blink and you'll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You'll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It'll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head-on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won't always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don't think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."

You might think that this is the end.

However, it's not.

This is only the beginning.

Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You'll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

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Don't Buy A Graduation Gown If There Are Some Already At Home You Can Reuse Or Borrow

Even though I had three graduation gowns at home, my high school still required me to buy another graduation gown.


Last year, I was a senior at high school. I had three graduation gowns from my sisters. Even though I had three graduation gowns at home, my high school still required me to buy another graduation gown. I was told that the graduation gown has a different color and design. I was also told that if I do not buy the new graduation gown, then I might not be able to walk in the graduation ceremony. This meant that I might not be able to get my diploma from the graduation ceremony.

When I bought the graduation gown, it was the same color and design as my sisters' graduation gowns. It was the same, like my eldest sister's graduation gown from 2014 and the twin's graduation gown from 2015. Four years apart from my eldest sister's graduation gown and three years apart from the twins' graduation made no difference to the graduation gown of 2018.

Why do I still need to buy a graduation gown if it turned out to be the same as my sisters' graduation gown? Why do high schools require students that have siblings to purchase another graduation gown? I understand that siblings have to purchase it if they cannot fit the graduation gown that they have. I understand that the siblings have to purchase it if the graduation gown has a different color. Let's say the eldest sibling has an orange graduation gown, while his or her younger sibling has to wear a blue graduation gown. My graduation gown was still blue like my sisters' graduation gowns. I understand, too, that high schools need siblings to purchase the graduation gowns in order to raise money for school events. If not, then what are they doing with that money instead?

I totally understand that an extra gown is needed for a twin. One sister graduated from high school in 2014. Two of them graduated in 2015. One twin can use that sister's gown. The other twin has to purchase it. However, the twins were told that both of them have to buy the gown. It cannot just be one twin that purchases the high school graduation gown.

Some people told me that maybe the zipper changed. Hey, when we are walking at the graduation ceremony, who is going to care about the zipper? Why do parents, teachers, and school administrators come to the graduation ceremony? They want to see the students get their diploma, not see what graduation gown that they are wearing.

Compared to some high schools, some colleges do not care if students purchase a graduation gown or borrow it from a sibling, friend, or alumni. My sisters recently graduated from college. They did not buy a graduation gown this time. They borrowed the gown from a friend. The friend was happy that someone wanted to make use of the graduation gown because it was only worn once and now it will get worn again. However, they still needed to buy a tassel since their friend graduated in a different year. Despite that, my sisters were able to save plenty of money because they did not have to purchase the gown.

From this, there is a true difference with how the high schools and colleges regulate the graduation gowns. It is easier for high schools to keep track of graduation gown purchases. High schools can keep track because there are not that many students in them. There are hundreds of high school students in a high school and millions of college students in a college. This shows that having siblings is not a good thing for high school graduations while it is a good thing in college graduations.

Here is the amount of money that has been paid to the three high school graduation gowns. Each of them cost $60 which equaled $180. In 2018, the graduation gown became cheaper. It cost $25. So, $180 + $25 = $205. If my graduation gown still cost $60, then my family would flip and explode because the total amount would be $240. If the high school allowed my sisters and me to reuse our graduation gowns, then we could save plenty of money.

So from these pictures, do our graduation gowns look the same to you? To my family and me, there is really no difference at all!

Amber Chai 2014: My eldest sister's graduationAmber Chai

Amber Chai 2015: The twins' graduationAmber Chai

Amber Chai 2018: My graduationAmber Chai

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