Advice for high school seniors as they begin final semester

To The High School Seniors Who Are About To Begin Their Last Semester Before College

Been there, done that.

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About a year ago, right around the time when senioritis hits, I was sitting in your same shoes, counting down the days until graduation. I was indecisive about what college to attend in the fall, stressed over filling out various college applications, anxiously waiting for acceptance letters (or so I hoped) in the mail, and so over the question: "where are you going to college / what do you plan on majoring in?" that my answer became repetitive.

Freshman year of high school, I remember sitting in Mrs. Miller's health class, hearing her say "high school is going to fly by within a blink of an eye" which I dismissed it as "yeah right."

Well Mrs. Miller, you were right. Here I am, halfway through my freshman year of college already looking forward to my high school's graduating class reunion.

After beginning college, I started reminiscing on the good ole high school days and will continue to cherish the memories made throughout the 4 years, especially my senior year. With that in mind, I encourage you to take advantage of your last couple months of high school because before you know it, it's all going to be part of the past.

Katie Biard

Start off by acknowledging that it's okay (and very natural) to feel sentimental throughout your last semester of high school. In fact, I suggest it. Huge changes are about to happen. You graduate this spring and most likely won't be seeing familiar faces at school in the fall. You may even be moving far from your hometown, leaving behind friends and family. Just remember, this is the beginning of a new chapter in your life, and good things await.

I encourage you to attend at least a couple sporting events before graduation. Whether it be soccer games, lacrosse games, or anything else in between, it's one of your last opportunities to cheer on your fellow classmates and show some of your school spirit.

Katie Biard

Enjoy these homework assignments while they last, because they're nothing like that in college. Reality sets in pretty quickly. You will have a bigger workload, and will need to study harder in order to succeed on exams. I learned that one the hard way, but just know your hard work and diligence in high school will pave the way for a good work ethic throughout college.

However, while the homework load in college can seem hard to balance with work and social life, your schedule will be a breeze. No more bells to tell you to move from class to class, no more being locked up in a building for 8 hours, and no more getting up at 6:30 a.m. every morning to catch a ride to school. You have the opportunity to create a schedule that works for you. You want your earliest class to be at 10 a.m.? Go right ahead. You want to leave Fridays wide open? Suit yourself.

Before graduation in the spring, I want you to ask yourself: did I do something out of my comfort zone? If your answer is no, don't fret. Your last semester of high school is the perfect time to try something new. Interested in trying out for the track team? Go for it! Wanting to be involved in a new club? It's never too late. During my senior year I decided to emcee the talent show with one of my friends. For someone who has never been on stage before, I had no idea what I was doing, but that was all part of the fun. Looking back now, it was one of my favorite memories of high school.

Gabrielle Faletto

Appreciate everything from the conversations you have in the hallways within the five minutes between classes to the teacher's you've cherished for 4 years. If you graduated with a smaller school and decide on going to a big school for college (like me), there won't be many times where you will see your locker neighbor (or in this case, your roommate) while walking to class. Seeing fresh faces everyday on the way to class can take some getting used to, but on the bright side, this just means that there is a wide variety of new people to meet.

Go to prom. You've spent anywhere between four and 13 years with these people. Who cares if you don't have a date. Grab some of your closest friends and make this night count.

Finally, when it comes down to the minute you walk across that stage and flip your tassel, enjoy every moment of your graduation day and know that the bonds you've made throughout your education thus far will carry into your future, even when you're miles away. This is the last time your class is going to be together in the same place (until future reunions, of course). Take a chance to sit back and enjoy the rewards of everything you've worked so hard for during the past 4 years.

You will soon realize that senior year is like a roller coaster ride filled with emotions. So take this information as you please, and make your last couple months of high school count.

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To The Girl Who Wears My Jersey

Now that you wear my jersey, here's what I'd like to tell you.
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To the girl who wears my jersey,

As an athlete, a jersey and number is more than just something you wear during a game. It means something more to an athlete.

One of the saddest parts of an athlete's career is when they have to give that jersey up for someone else to wear when they move on in life. After sitting in a box for a couple months after graduation, another athlete comes along and takes the jersey as their own. So, here's some things I would like to say to the girl that is wearing my jersey.

I hope you are working hard at the game. I hope that you are putting in extra hours when practice is over, and going 110% doing whatever you are doing. Enjoy the time you have now because soon it will be gone. It goes by in the blink of an eye and before you know it you will leaving your jersey behind just like I did, so cherish every moment. When I wore that jersey, I thought that the games and practices would never end until it got close to the end.

That jersey you're wearing has been through everything. It's gone through winning streaks, heartbreaking losses, comebacks, and blowouts. It's full of memories that I made with my teammates for years. There were the long bus rides or the pre-game traditions. There were the times we went out to eat and I got food on it, and times where it held my tears after a tough loss. That jersey you have has literally been with me through blood, sweat, and tears. It's seen all of the hard work I have put in on the field or court. I met so many different and amazing people in that jersey. I've played for coaches that have showed me perspectives of the game that I never saw before. I traveled to small towns, big cities, beaches, and other places I never thought I would see. It's an exciting time when you have that jersey on. You will meet new people, learn new things, and travel to places you never thought you would go before.

The jersey you are wearing means something to me, because I picked it for a reason and wore it for so many years. I picked the number on the jersey because it has a story, like every athlete's number does. The story can be as simple as it was picked for me and grew on me, or it could be your role model wore that number, so you chose it too. Another story could be that a family member wore it so you carried on the tradition. Whatever the story was, it's your turn to add your story to the jersey.

Be legendary. The truth is sometimes when someone thinks about that jersey you're wearing they'll think of the people that wore it before you. They think of the way the ones before you played, but that's all going to change. You are going to be added to the legacy and tradition. It's time for you to make your own legacy and name for yourself. It's about making people think that whoever wears the number next will be as great as the one before. Play to the best of your ability and work hard every day to be better than the next girl. Play with heart, be humble, and don't disrespect the tradition, team, or organization you are a part of.

Finally, play for someone other than yourself. Play for the name on the front of your jersey more than the one on the back. Play for everyone who got you to the point you are at now. Play for the ones who don't have the opportunity to play the game you love. Play for the little girl who watches you. Play for all the ones who wore the jersey before you.

Above all else, be your own player, create a name for yourself, and be humble.


Cover Image Credit: Caroline Showalter

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To My Boyfriend, As He Prepares To Graduate College

Good luck in the "real world," you can do it!

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Five weeks, excluding finals and that's it. No more classes, first-day icebreakers, Pub Wednesdays, or game days at the Pepsi Ice Skating Rink. You. Are. Done. Crazy right?

In just a blink of an eye, your four years here at Illinois State University have flown by. It's heartbreaking because I know how much you love being here with your friends, enjoying every minute of living your best life, and not worrying about "adult" responsibilities. I can see how hard it is for you to fully accept that these next couple of weeks are your last weeks here.

You look at me with those eyes every time I mention how close the graduation date is, but I can't help but express my excitement and how proud I am even though I know for a fact that my senior year won't be the same without you here. Questions like who would I grab Panda Express on a weekly basis with? What about Sunday grocery trips? Or simply calling you and having you right at my door in a matter of minutes.

It's sure going to be different not only for me but the guys too. Why? Well, there's going to be no one to make random noises or say random things. All I can say is, you have made strong friendships with people you consider your lifelong friends — ones you'll stay in contact with until the end of time. It's amazing how much of an impact you have made on your friends, peers, and me. Everyone has so many nice things to say about you. I know you're smiling and shaking your head right now, but I have videos to prove it! Thanks to your family for creating and influencing that amazing heart of yours. They really did raise such an amazing person.

I am truly lucky to witness the good times and bad times with you these past two years. Those experiences have made you who you are today. From partying every weekend to getting your grades up to becoming captain of the hockey team, then struggling to find internships, to finding one, and finally in a couple of weeks...stepping into that stadium and on that stage to receive your diploma. I have so much much faith that you'll be nothing but successful, however, YOU have to believe in yourself as well.

In just weeks, you'll be considered an alumnus. Don't be sad, be happy about all of the memories you hold in your heart — all the friendships you've made, all the games you've led and won. I'll be waving, cheering, and, most likely, crying from the stands as you walk and receive your diploma. Be proud and walk with pride.

Here's to a great four years — the end of chapter 16 and the start of a new one.

Congratulations, baby, you did it!

P.S. Don't forget to come back and visit me and the guys!

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