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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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!

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Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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