An Open Letter To High School Seniors

An Open Letter To High School Seniors

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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.

Sincerely,

A College Student

Cover Image Credit: Teen

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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Just Because You Chose A Specific Major Doesn't Mean You Can't Explore Other Passions

Those same passions that you found at whatever point in your life, are not static. They are, for a fact, going to change. And that is completely OK.

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As children, we all grew up with a favorite hobby or activity and kept up with them as we got older. Whatever these hobbies and activities were turned into the things we turned to when we needed a break from all the drama of school and work. These were the things that turned into passions that we live to do and talk about. These are the passions that we wish we could turn into futures.

Well, I'm going to assume that quite a few of us feel that way.

Thought, not everyone is lucky enough to find their passions during their childhood. For others, such passion takes a little longer to develop. But the time that this occurs is not as relevant as the fact that you find something you absolutely adore doing. It is more important that you find something that you love and enjoy, something that motivates you, raises your spirits, and encourages you to learn more.

So, you should go out there and explore everything the world has to offer! There are thousands of things, each more different than the last, that you could be interested in. The things that make your heart race, increase your need for knowledge, or simply make you overjoyed should be things that you pursue. These are activities and hobbies that influence your life from the minute you find them.

Not all passions are created equal.

A majority of the passions we find ourselves in are artistic and creative in nature and not truly suitable for a future job. When brought up to our parents, they are turned down, usually with the phrase "But, can you get a job with that major?" or "How successful are you going to be in a field like that?" Our passions end up being something that we look forward to doing, not forever, but for the time being. However, the opinions of others (even if they are your parents) should never get in the way of you chasing your dreams. If your passion is truly the field and career you would like to pursue, then I say go for it!

My parents said, "While I encourage you to look into computer science, it's not something we're going to push you to do. You can major in whatever, as long as you enjoy doing it and can provide for yourself."

That is the advice that my parents gave me as I entered my junior year of high school, the year most significant to the college application process other than the actual application itself. Before all of that and my entrance into Rutgers, I was just a student within my high school's animal and botanical sciences program looking to study environmental science. But, after much thinking about how I generally do not like bugs and dirt, I listened to my parents' advice and started looking into computer science.

By my senior year and the time when applications roll around, I had decided that computer science was something I was truly interested in! I found coding and everything that came with it to be fascinating to learn, and I looked forward to every AP Computer Science class I got to attend. Looking at the jobs and career fields related to these studies only encouraged me more. At the end of the year, I had already decided that I would like to work an exciting government job in cybersecurity (impressive, I know).

Now fast forward to now, I'm a full-time student at Rutgers and I am no longer interested in computer science. Although, to be fair, I am less interested in the mathematical aspects and courses that come along with everything else. I am currently looking to major in Information Technology and Informatics, with minors in Critical Intelligence Studies and Linguistics. It was a small change, but simultaneously a significant one. While my goal is relatively similar to what it was before, not everything is the same.

The passions and skills that I have developed in my short time at Rutgers have changed some things. I am no longer as interested in coding as I used to be, but rather the analytical aspects of cybersecurity; I would rather be active in my job, constantly interacting with people as opposed to just sitting at a desk as my 9-5.

Those same passions that you found at whatever point in your life, are not static.

They are, for a fact, going to change. And that is completely OK. College is the time for you to discover what makes you tick, the things that push you to be at your very best at all times rather than a fraction of that.

Here at Rutgers, you have the opportunity to explore hundreds of majors and minors, making the combinations and possibilities endless. You have the ability to customize your courses and activities to pursue a specific path, as well. Everything that you do from the moment you step on campus will impact your future. It is simply up to you to figure out what it is exactly you want to do.

Even then, while your passions may not be your future, that does not mean you have to completely disregard them.

You still have the ability to keep them within your life through extracurriculars and free time. Never, at any point in your life, should you being willing to settle for anything less than something you are passionate about even as they change over time.

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