Dear High School Senior, Before You Start Your Last Semester

Dear High School Senior, Before You Start Your Last Semester

Enjoy the moments you have, you'll blink twice and you'll be in a cap and gown wondering where the time went.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Kendall Gatewood

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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I Expected It To Have It All Together By 22 And I'm Still Far From That

What we expected and what reality actually is, are two completely different things...

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Oh our 20s, how we expected them to be so different. We expected to graduate college at 22, have a career by 23, be engaged by 24, married with a house by 25, kids by 26-28, vacationing with the family by 30, and retired by 60. We expected college to be parties and cute boys/girls. Instead, we got late nights of studying and crying after a job that barely pays for our car, food, dorm, and textbooks. We get no social life and if we do our grades suffer for it.

Our 20s were expected to be all fun but all we got were struggles and stress. I mean I don't know about you but I expected, to have it all together and I'm nearly 23 and far from it. I had all the scholarships and great grades, and I still don't have any type of degree.

Reality hits after 18. Most of us don't have the help of mom and dad anymore. We have to find our way and make a path for ourselves. Sometimes our dreams and goals have to be put on hold for that. The 20s isn't fun. It's about discovering who you are, who you want to be, and where you want to go. Some of us serve our country, some become incarcerated, some of us parents, some teachers, others cops, others travel or study abroad, some dead, some ill, other managers, others homeless, some still living home, and some even addicts.

The weird thing about your 20s is everyone is doing something different, but yet everyone is confused and comparing themselves to others. People feel if they're not doing what others are doing, in their age group then they have failed themselves. What people forget is that with life comes obstacles and sacrifice and everyone's life and situations are different. You are where you need to be right now, for you, and I think that's something to remember in your 20s.

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Another thing about your 20's is you're free to think for yourself now. No more having to follow a religion you dislike or hold back from things you love. The world is literally yours to discover and learn from. Possibilities are endless! I think your 20's are the years you create yourself to the best version of you and build the foundation for your future. Just remember, we all build at our own pace.

Signed,

The lost 22-year old that believes in you

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