Dear High School Seniors,

At this point in your life, you have been in school for a little over 12 years. You're probably saying that you're sick of seeing the same people every day and just want to pack up your whole room and head off to college. Well, all I have to say is, slow down. Although you might not realize it now, your memories of high school are going to be some of the best memories of your life. You think that you want to leave and be done with it, but trust me, you're going to take back those words.

It's now the beginning of November. You probably just experienced your last Homecoming of high school and played your last home game of the fall season. This is when you start to realize that your months of high school are ending. You realize that the group of guys or girls that you've run with, defended, played with, and bonded with since a very young age will not be out there on the field with you next year. During your senior night, you probably cry for the first time (or you sob hysterically, like I did) and it finally hits you that this is all coming to an end. You also start to realize that you might never play this sport again.

All I have to tell you is to enjoy every second of your last few moments on these sports teams, and take in the sound of the crowd cheering you on. College sports are exciting and thrilling, but they're a lot more time consuming than high school. You won't appreciate the memories you have made on this team until you see the team playing without you next year.

At this time, you're also probably stressing about college applications. If you stay on top of this and submit everything early, it really won't be stressful. Apply to the places that you can see yourself living and learning for the next four years of your life. Don't listen to your parents telling you to go to their alma mater or your guidance counselor telling you that your dream school might be too far of a stretch. Apply to as many or as few places as you would like. You won't find the perfect school without following your heart, as cheesy as that sounds.

Enjoy every single moment spent with your best friends. I cannot promise you that you will not grow apart when you are hundreds of miles away from each other, but I can promise you that you will never forget them. So, order in an unnecessary amount of pizza to feast on together, watch "High School Musical" (I suggest "High School Musical 3," it will get the waterworks flowing) and have sleepovers instead of going to parties. These next few months are going to fly by, and you're going to wish you had more late-night talks with the people who have been by your side since you were young.

If your parents are like mine, they're probably starting to get nervous and anxious about you leaving them. When they ask you how your day at school was, don't just say, "It was fine." Tell them about that test you think you failed, the disgusting lunch you ate, or about the kid you accidentally tripped in the hallway. They don't just ask you how your day was for no reason. They want to talk to you because they realize that you probably won't call them every day next year (and that kills them). Put the phone down at dinner and have a real conversation with them. You won't realize how much you'll miss them until you're over three hours away from them and you can't just hug mom when you need her.

Before you know it, it will be your turn to walk across the stage and accept your diploma. You'll realize that, for the first time in over 10 years, you'll have to make new friends. Even if you hate high school right now and can't wait to get out, one day you'll realize that you should have appreciated it more. College brings you one step closer to the real world, so stop rushing through your senior year.

Don't get me wrong: College will bring you some of the best years of your life, but appreciate your hometown, friends, and family more than ever right now.

My last words of wisdom: Have fun and enjoy it. You are only in high school once. Appreciate your teachers letting you hand in your homework three weeks late. Be grateful that you know everyone in your grades name, because come next year, you will most likely not know a single soul. Mend the friendship you broke in 8th grade over some stupid boy. Don't worry about what people think about you. If you want to go to school "sweat pants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on," go for it. Talk to the cute boy in the back of your AP calculus class. Take in your last few moments on that field. Go to every school event possible. Laugh a lot. Have fun. Love your senior class and take in every single moment.


A College Student