An Open Letter To The Class Of 2017

An Open Letter To The Class Of 2017

It won't be like "High School Musical 3," but it can be close!
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Dear High School Class of 2017,

You made it! It is finally your senior year, and you will be graduating in a short ten months. Ten months may seem like a really long time now, but in all honesty, this year will go by faster than you can ever imagine. Right now you are preparing for your senior year, buying the perfect first day of school outfits, and finishing up some last minute AP summer work. You are ready. You have waited patiently these past three years for this day to come. You cannot wait until you are walking across that stage to receive your diploma. As you start this year, you can not wait for it to end because you will be done with college applications and your decision will be made. You cannot wait to get out of your high school and you just want it to be June already. I know I felt that way and you will come to a realization that this is really it and you begin noticing all of your lasts. You will become beyond excited for graduation and you will be stressed out by college applications; however, in the end, it will all work itself out. Do not wish the year to hurry up or be over because once it is over there is no going back.

Graduation is the result of the culmination of four years of not only hard work, but also some of the best memories you will never forget. That being said, make the most of your last year at your high school. Reach out to people in your grade who you may have not met previously. You will not want to be sitting at graduation, realizing you do not recognize a lot of the names being called. Go to every football game or every school performance. Even if you are not a sports or art fan, you should go and support your friends involved! Step out of your comfort zone and try a new club. Do not do this for the sole purpose of putting it on your college application. Spend time with friends and make the most of every moment. Participate in senior spirit week, even if you feel like you are dressed like a fool. During spirit week, it is perfectly acceptable to walk down the hallway looking like a tacky tourist or sporting your favorite pajamas! Go on your senior trip, whether it is a dinner cruise or a legitimate trip. Senior skip day is a must and if your grade is planning a prank, be careful! My grade played senior assassin with water guns and it was a fun way to end the year. Go to prom even if you think it will be a waste of time because you will never get another prom. Take advantage of every chance to be with your classmates and have an amazing time.

I’m going to tell you something that your parents probably already have: start your Common Application early. You can thank me later. The Common App may seem easy because you can just fill it out and send it to an innumerable amount of colleges and universities. Do not wait until the week before the application deadline to do this because each school may have their own writing supplements and you will not want to be up for nights writing numerous essays. Also, some schools are not on the Common App, and you will have additional applications.

Have someone edit your college essays after you write them. I had one of my friends from my AP English class read all of my essays multiple times and it was beyond helpful. The sooner you get your applications done, the sooner it is all over with. You will have this feeling of never wanting to look at it again. I will be honest with you: the waiting is the worst part. If you apply early action or early decision, you will be waiting about a month or two before you hear back.

I know preparing for college seems like it will take up your entire senior year, but I promise you it will not. If you apply early action and meet the November 1st deadline, you will be done with your applications by then and you can sit back and wait for your decisions. The best part is that you do not have to choose your college until May 1st. I promise that it will not be as bad as it seems, as long as you do not cram at the last minute.

Going into senior year, I told myself that I would not let senioritis get the best of me. I wish I stayed true to that promise. I completed all my work and I maintained my averages; however, my entire attitude changed. Every assignment included complaining. I am going to tell you that senioritis is inevitable. You can maintain your work and grades; however, there will be a shift come second semester. One of my classes included walking in to find my teacher standing on a desk with a sign saying “No More Senioritis.”

You will make it through second semester, and you just need to remind yourself that now is not the time to quit. You have put in four years of hard work and if you stop now, it would be like quitting the Boston Marathon after running 25 miles. Why would you quit just as you are reaching the 26th-mile finish line? There is going to be a point where you are just done with schoolwork, but you have to push through it. It may seem impossible to find the drive to complete your assignments, but you should finish your run at your high school strong, because when you cross that finish line at graduation, you should have no regrets.

Once you graduate, chances are you will be moving away from home and will not see your friends and family every day. The past 18 years of your life have revolved around these people. In two short months after graduation, they will no longer be right down the hallway or street. Take advantage of each moment you can spend with your friends and family. During the summer, you will feel more inclined to go out with your friends and that is awesome, but do not spend all of your time with them. Spend time with your family because they will miss you a lot next year. Your parents have been there for you since day one, and they are the reason you are the person you have become. Express your gratitude to them and do not forget to say thank you, even for the little things. Hug your parents every day, because when you are away at college you will wish you were able to. Do not take your parents for granted, because next year they will not be right down the hall ready to help you whenever you need it.

Flash forward to a year from today. I want you to picture yourself inside your local department store shopping for your dorm. Your senior year is over just like that. You are leaving home in two weeks and you will probably never see many of your classmates until your high school class reunion. A year from today, everything you have known for the past four years will be over. You will probably know your roommate at this point, but that is one of the only people you know going into college. You will not have the luxury of knowing everyone, staff included. You will be scared, anxious, sad, but above that, excited. You are leaving your best friends, your home, and your family. Chances are you will not be coming home until Columbus Day weekend if you are attending a school nearby or Thanksgiving if you are farther away. You are going to hear this a million times, but make the most of your senior year. High school is what you make of it and senior year is the time to go out on a high note.

Good luck and have fun,

The Class of 2016
Cover Image Credit: Sarah Simmons

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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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Summer And Jobs

Working summers doesn't have to be tedious.

Aasayed
Aasayed
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Like many other college students, I was ready for summer but was kinda bummed that I had to work. Its not that I didn't like where I was working, I actually was really lucky to be working in a hospital environment but I just hated being alone all summer from 9-5. I've had this job for a few years now and a few other paid interns came and went but I never really connected with any of them. This year is different though.

I got really lucky to have another intern work with me that was very similar to me. The tasks we got were always simple but they were made to be more fun because I got to do them while talking with someone else. Now I actually enjoy and look forward to going to work.

The key to finding a good job is finding one that you enjoy doing and one that will help you gain knowledge that will help you out with future career plans. Working with friends also make tasks enjoyable! I would be careful with working with your friend however because if your job needs you to be serious and focused, being around your best friends may distract you from that.

Another thing that definitely makes summer jobs more enjoyable are taking breaks! It is your summer vacation after all! I'm not saying don't take a day off just to sit around, but if you make plans with family and friends, take a Friday off and enjoy the warm weather and good company! Employers understand that us college students and on break and have lives, they are usually very lenient with days off!

If you have to do a summer job to make money to live off of or pay for college, the best thing to do is look at the big picture. If you don't enjoy your job but can't afford to quit, remember that the money if going to help you out a lot. Also, this job is probably only for the summer right? So it's not permanent my friend! Get through these annoying few weeks and you will be back at college, taking steps for a bigger and brighter future.

Summer jobs are tough, I know, but make the most of it! And don't forget to enjoy it whenever you can!!!

Aasayed
Aasayed

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