Advice To High School Seniors From A Recent High School Graduate

Advice To High School Seniors From A Recent High School Graduate

Don't dwell on leaving high school, be excited for the next big step in your life.
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As a recent high school graduate I feel as though it is only fair that I share advice I wish I had known at the beginning of my senior year.

1. Give Yourself Options

Do yourself a favor and apply to more schools than you think you need. While it may be a pain to you/your families wallet, it will ultimately save you some pain down the road when you're stuck with schools you don't want to attend. Apply to safety schools, maybe even three. If you're even somewhat unsure of what you want to do or where you want to go, you will be so thankful you applied to more schools. When decision time comes around, you'll be wanting to have options and not be stuck with the few colleges you did apply to. My best advice is to apply to those schools that waive their application fee and/or if they are on CommonApp. As time consuming as CommonApp is, once your information is in there, everything is a breeze after that.

2. Keep Track of Your Textbooks (and Everything for That Matter)

It may seem like misplacing something like a textbook or homework is no big deal at the time, but when it's your cap and gown or a grade on the line, you'll wish you had just been more organized. Senior year is not the time to start losing things, especially when you'll most likely be too lazy to even look for it. From personal experience, misplacing one quiz was the reason I was forced to take my second semester exams. While my friends were enjoying sleeping in, I got to come to the last week of school just by losing a piece of paper. Save yourself the trouble and just stay organized.

3. If You Take the Class, Take the Test

This goes for AP classes/tests. Don't waste your senior year in a difficult class and not take the test at the end of the year. Often times students do better than they thought they would, and earned college credits. If you could survive the class all year, I'm sure you could survive one test in May. One of my biggest regrets was not taking the AP Government exam when a large majority of students who took it got a four or a five. Worst case scenario: you spent $92, and best case scenario: you got out of a semester class for next year (which will no doubt cost more than $92). And most importantly, take your AP classes seriously, they could pay off at the end!

4. Your Guidance Counselor Isn't Always Right

Know what is best for you, and don't get sucked into taking gross classes during your senior year. You should be able to enjoy your last year in high school, and not be stuck in a boring science class just because your counselor suggested it. Know what types of classes you're good in (AP, advanced, standard) and what subjects you enjoy. Make sure you have completed all of the required classes for graduation, but after that you should take classes that you will actually pay attention in and enjoy.

5. Apply to Your Dream School

No matter what your parents say or your chances of getting in, you should apply to your dream school. Just to be able to say you tried will be a good enough reason to do it. Who knows, maybe you'll surprise yourself and get in! The worst that could happen would be that you get denied, and as long as you applied to other schools you'll be okay.

6. Be Excited for the Next Chapter

About halfway through your senior year you'll begin to start feeling sad about leaving all of your friends. But just remember that you'll soon be off to new and more exciting places. While it is okay to be emotional about leaving high school, just realize that there are far better things coming your way and you should be excited. Your friends will all eventually come home during college breaks and you'll be able to visit them then. Don't dwell on leaving high school, be excited for the next big step in your life.

7. Don't Get Involved in Twitter Fights

Fairly self explanatory, but just don't do it. They are so pointless and will never solve anything. Try to spend your time doing things that will benefit you in the long run, and trust me this isn't one of them.

8. Save Your Money

There is nothing worse than having to miss hanging out with your friends because you're out of money. Try your best to save some of your paycheck to use on fun things and don't just waste it on clothes (like I did.) You'll be glad to have some money when the time comes. Soon you'll learn that college is expensive, even without tuition involved, so you'll want that extra cash.

9. It's Okay to Kick Toxic People out of Your Life

Don't learn the hard way. If you believe that some of your friends aren't really your true friends, drop them. No one needs negative energy in their lives, especially during a stressful time like senior year. As painful as it might be to lose some people in your life, it is often for the better. It is important to be the bigger person and realize that negative people don't benefit anyone. It is ok to try to save the relationship, but you might find out that it is better for everyone involved to just let it go. Senior year is supposed to be fun, and you don't need anyone ruining that.

10. Have a Good Relationship with Teachers

Be respectful to your teachers. It is not that hard and it can really benefit you when recommendations are needed. Try to engage in conversations with your teachers and speak up in class because that is what they use to write letters. Even if you don't plan on using a specific teacher for a recommendation, it can still be beneficial to you when your grade is borderline.

11. Enjoy Your Town, Especially if You're Leaving

As much as I hated my hometown, it was during my senior year that I realized how nice it actually was. Don't hate too much on your hometown because soon you'll be missing it. That may be hard to believe now, but trust me, you'll wish you had appreciated it then.

Cover Image Credit: Sarah Nathanson

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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To The High School Senior Nearing The End Of This Chapter, Feel Free To Look Back

Trust me, you're going to want to.

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Right now you can't wait to leave. You can't wait for that fresh start, new friends, independence… the list is never-ending. But coming from someone two years removed from high school, please take it all in. Take in those last goofy times in class. All those fun car rides in the middle of the night with your friends where you laugh so hard you cry. Spending all day long with the friends you've known your whole life… remember how it feels in your heart. Enjoy graduation and take lots of pictures. Remember to always remain in the moment during all of these events. Don't let anything ruin it for you. That carefree feeling you have right now and will continue to have this summer will pass whether you believe it or not. Adulthood crawls in quicker than you think…

You will be left with the memories of what was, never to see or speak to so many people you once genuinely had so much fun with. High school is such a unique experience and I believe many of us take it granted because it is a necessity. We look at it as a chore because of mundane things like it being boring and having to wake up so early. In the moment we fail to see how fun it actually was. It is often only afterward that we realize just what we really had in those 4 years. Admittedly, I never thought I missed much of anything about high school, and I especially never thought I would. But here I am, two years later and I'm just realizing how easy I had it. High school was hard, but when I say the real world is harder, please take my words to heart. I am a firm believer that high school, in general, is a massive bubble.

Not to say that the bubble is bad. But the bubble will break, and it's more jarring to some than others. So don't let it impact you in a negative way, be prepared for its impact and conquer it! My point is, know that high school is not supposed to be the best four years of your life, but it is a time of your life where most people have the least worries, and that is something you can't get back. Worries and stress are subjective, so of course, we all thought our lives were over multiple times in high school, but we shortly realized that was not the case.

Your last teenage years should be taken in stride. Don't wish them away for older age, enjoy them. You'll never get them back, so you might as well stay in the moment.

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