Dear Senior,

I know, you're only ONE semester away from closing out this terrible, jail-like thing we call school. 12 plus years spent locked in these walls of what feels like jail, about 18 years under the rule of your parents. Freedom is right there, so close you can taste it! But wait for a second; take a step back. Right now, you are still one semester away. You still have to go to that jail place; you still have to follow parental rules, and you're still stuck right here in time, so why not enjoy it.

Enjoy your family.

Take EVERY opportunity to hang out with your family. No matter what “big plans” you have, give them time too. Spend time at home. Once you graduate, things will never be the same. Sit on the couch and do your homework with your family. Join them at the dinner table. Help your mom do dishes, help dad work on the cars, play x-box with your brother. Go to Grandmas just because! Do activities with your family! Don’t yell at your family. I know you might get mad at them, but they only want what’s best for you. Take what little time you have left with them and make it enjoyable! All the little things that seem “normal” now will be the things you miss the most after graduation. These will be the things you wish you could go back and do!

Things will never be the same.

Think about it. This time next year you’ll be sitting in your dorm. You will be a semester into college. You’ll be living on your own in charge of your own laundry and food. Things won’t be the same. When you return home, buildings will have been built, things are taken down. Your friend will no longer be 5 minutes down the road. Your parents get new things for the house. Things will never be the same as they have been for the past 18 years or so. Enjoy them now!

Go to EVERYTHING.

I know this sounds stupid, but attend everything your school puts on. Go to the play with your friends. It's your senior year, LIVE IT UP. Go to all the basketball, and volleyball games. Support your classmates! This is the last time you will all be together in the same school. Support each other. Go to all the events leading up to graduation. Go to the candlelight service, go to the church service for seniors only. Attend all these events, no matter how stupid you think they are. At least you’ll have your friends with you. Going to everything will ensure that you won’t regret not attending later. If you do make the effort to make an appearance at everything, you’ll have a good time to share. These events won’t be the same when you come back after college. You won’t be a student anymore.

Take Pictures.

Take them at dinner, at the mall, sitting on the couch, walking to your car. TAKE PICTURES. Things that are everyday for you now, won’t be later. If you take pictures of everything, you’ll be able to look back when you miss home. But most importantly, you’ll have these pictures for years down the road. You can look back at the pictures from your senior year football game or a basketball game. Pictures help trigger memories that make you feel happy 20 years down the road. You can never take too many pictures. Someday you’ll be happy you took all those pictures.

Do the little things you love.

Take advantage of doing the things you love. If you love walking your dog down this dirt path, do it! Do all the little things that make you happy. These are the things you'll miss most when you're gone, so do them now while you can! Do activities for yourself to make yourself happy!

Go out with your friends.

Let me preface this by saying, family first! But do go out with your friends, even the people you are only kinda sorta close with. This is the last semester you will be in the same town as them. This is the last few months you’ll only be a single call away, literally. Go out and do things; don’t stay at home alone. Enjoy life for what it's worth. Do things that scare you with them, they are your biggest supports and will support you so much. If you don’t take advantage of the time you have with them now, you’ll regret it. Even if its just simply sitting in bed watching a movie and eating pizza. These are the people you’ll create stories with that you’ll laugh about years from now! Go out, be adventurous, enjoy your friends while you still can. Be spontaneous!!

Don’t rush.

Take your time leaving school. Talk to your friends and teachers. Don’t be in such a hurry to get outta the school. One day you’ll wish you talked to your best friend just a few seconds longer before you ran off; you’ll wish you could open your locker just one more time. Truth is, right now you are so over this thing called high school, but in about a year you’ll be missing it. Saver the precious time you have while you can! Take that extra minute to walk out the long way, sit in the parking lot talking and listening to music. Don’t be in such a rush! Don’t rush anything. Live life in the moment! Breath and enjoy this special time you still have. Do love the moments you have walking to your car, or the times your parents ask you about your life. Just live life for what it is now. Don’t rush into what life is going to be. Life is coming no matter how much you think and plan. If you always think about the future, you’ll never have anything to look back on because you forgot to live in the here and now.

DO NOT slack off.

I’m telling you now... Don’t even think about slacking off. This is one of the most important semesters of your school career. I know it's hard to finish all the projects and homework, but you have to do it. You have to keep your grades up. Colleges look at how you did this semester. They want to see that you still cared. Find motivation in some way to keep you going!

Relationships.

Let me just say: yes, some high school relationships last forever…. BUT not all do. Do not get so consumed with your relationship you forget all these other things. Relationships might seem like the most important thing in your life right now, but let me tell ya…. It's not. Its okay to spend time with your significant other, but don’t forget about your friends and family. Give them time too! Don’t let your significant other take all your attention; instead, enjoy the time you have left in high school with them. This means take pictures with them and without them. Make memories with them and without them. You don’t want to have a bad break up after graduation and then hate your senior year because of them. If they truly love you, they will understand you need “us time” and “you time”.

Be Yourself.

Most importantly, be yourself! Don’t let anyone else help define who you are and who you become. If you don’t want to do something everyone else is doing, don’t. You can do what you want to do. If you want to go to the school play, GO. If you want to sit in the parking lot after school, do it! Do whatever you want to do. Also, don’t hold back. If you are an outgoing person, be that person! Let everyone hear your funny jokes, or do your dances. Be who you want to be! Most importantly, BE A KID. This is the last semester you can truly be a kid. You don’t have to worry about bills or housing or food. Just be a kid, don’t worry about “adult” things yet!

This will be one of the most memorable semesters if you do these things. Make this semester worth talking about! Don’t let the fear of looking “stupid” hold you back. My senior year of high school I wish I would have gone to more games, I wish, I wish, I wish. Don’t let yourself have regrets!

Senior year is one of the most special things. I know I regret not following all these rules, but senior year gave me some of the best memories. Some of these memories I still laugh about today. The time I spent with my friends, and the friendships I built still make me happy. Senior year is what you make it! Make it great and enjoy every little moment of it. Someday you’ll miss high school, but if you do it right you’ll have memories to help you get through.

Think about it….. You’ve spent the last 12 plus years with the kids you roam the halls with. In a few months, some of these “daily” faces you’ll never see again. These are the last few months the people you’ve grown up with will be all together.

Just let this sink in…..

One day you’ll be at your last first-night football game and prom. One day, you’ll be at your last game with your team. One day you’ll be taking your last test and eating your last school lunch. One day you’ll have your last fire frill and report card. One-day you’ll have your last young and wild Saturday night with people you’ve made a million memories with.

One day you’ll be closing your locker and walking out of those big doors for the last time. One day you’ll be standing in an alphabetically ordered line in a cap and gown with the people who you watched grow up. People who watched you grow up.

Some of those people you’ll never see again or even hear about. One day you’ll forget about all the people you know and you’ll barely remember the memories until you find a picture that makes you think of one. One day you’ll be packing up 18 years of your life into boxes and hugging your parents goodbye. It's sad…one day you won’t be in high school anymore... and we're all ready to leave so soon.