I'll bet to a bunch of you juniors and seniors, school just cannot end soon enough. You're probably looking forward to heading back home and chilling with your friends and family. Yes, it's only January and it probably seems like May or June in some cases is light years away. All of that homework and preparing for finals is a real stressful experience. However, the end of the year will come much sooner than you think and you may receive the proverbial slap in the face. No matter how much you prepare, it usually is not enough.
It's that time of year. The second semester or second half of the school year is upon you. There are only four to five months left. Whether you are in high school or college as a junior or senior, it is critical for you to make any lifelong friendships and have as much fun as you can so that you can press forward to the next chapters of your life with no regrets.
We are lucky to live in a time where there is social media and smartphones because not too long ago, when graduation came and went, that was it. It became really difficult to keep in contact with anyone after graduation because everyone would go their separate ways. Sometimes, classmates were halfway across the country or even the world, which only allowed sporadic opportunities at long distance phone calls.
Yes, after you graduate, you will all find your own opportunities whether it be college, a career, traveling, or even graduate school, which does still make it difficult to keep in contact with those you grew close with over the years. But if you take the time to participate in your school community by reaching out to classmates, going to fun events, and creating your own lifelong memories with your classmates, friends, or even professors. (Yes, they can be fun, too.)
Recently, I had a few friends from college that were in my neck of the woods in the Twin Cities reach out to me just to hang out with them. I'm telling you, it was one of the most fun nights I've ever had because they thought to get a hold of me, we were able to pick up where we left off just about a year ago, and I got to be my outlandish and goofball self. Now, is that not what all of you want out of your experience in school? Don't you want to be that person people want to reach out to even after graduation day? Don't you want to say, "My buds from college are in town, so I'm gonna meet up with them?"
Even for you juniors out there, creating these memories and bonds now is important because it gives you so much momentum and confidence heading into your senior year. Despite all of the requirements you need to complete your senior year, it will seem a tad bit easier if you have the support of your new friends behind you backing you up or providing stress relief with some fun nights out. All it takes is some initiative and self motivation. Find a way to put yourself out there.
Although, I did this by being a residence assistant for three years and participating in Relay for Life man pageants, among other things, you don't have to go that route. You don't have to totally put yourself in the public eye to make your memorable stories. Find a small handful of friends who you can be yourself around.
I know for me, the people I've met between high school and college are the people that I will remember for the rest of my life. People did what they could to include me in their lives, so I had to do what I could to participate in my school and community to really feel a sense of completion, let alone graduation. As I hope for all of you, I hope that I will still be talking to my college buddies when I'm 75 years old about the good old days.
Do not let time get away from you. Create those lifelong friendships, bonds, and memories while you can. As a wrestling teammate of mine once said, "do it for the story." He was right. Even if some decisions may not be the best, as long as you gather a life lesson from it and approach a similar decision better the next time, the story is well worth it. Doing what you can to participate is what creating connections before commencement is all about.