For most of us, it starts out the summer after junior year. Basketball, wrestling, football, cheerleading and any kind of camp you can think of. For me, it started with basketball. Open gyms a few times a week, going out to get ice cream with the team afterward, and then hanging out together at someone's house. Those things seem so insignificant when you are in the moment, but after the fact they are memories you would kill to go back to.
Next thing is the first day of school, a syllabus from every teacher (except the one or two teachers that are just as unprepared as you are), girls that just saw each other last week screaming and running through the halls as if they hadn't seen one another for months, and of course seeing your favorite teacher. A few weeks in, and it's football Friday night. All day at school, everyone's talking about the team we're playing and the girls are talking about their outfits'. Again, something that seems so unimportant but when you're looking back and reminiscing those are the things that you miss most.
Onto the first football game, you're getting ready either in the locker room with the team or maybe at home with your friends. Painting your face, putting fake tattoos on, cutting up tee shirts and taking a last minute trip to find some knee high socks and beads that match the theme. As for me, I was the student section leader. I led all the chants, I got everyone pumped up, and most of all I had to out-do any other kids in the student section. Half time, leading the "roller coaster", listening to the bands half time show, and cheering as the boys re-entered the field. Taking an insane amount of pictures with your friends, borrowing hoodies, and holding hot cups of hot chocolate just to keep your hands warm. Countless trips to Waffle House after games, filling up the entire dining room with football players and kids from the student section-- it goes faster than you think.
At this point, you may realize that time is flying. Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, and then it's a whole new year. Now it's your graduation year. That midterm that you dreaded taking? You'll actually miss that. You'll miss running through the hallways early in the morning to ask your teacher a few questions about what could possibly be on the exam. You'll miss getting to leave early after the test and going out to eat with your friends. You'll miss things as simple as sitting at lunch with all of your friends, probably the same kids that you've sat with since freshman year (or at least close to the same people). You'll miss gym class, your math teacher, speeding into the parking lot because you're going to be late, skipping the first period of the day to sleep in your car because you just couldn't sleep the night before-- enjoy every second of it.
Now let us get to the core... slow down, guys. Don't wish it away. Enjoy that football game, and scream your heart out. Participate in the theme, and under no circumstances should you stay home. Wake up early to go out to breakfast with your best friends a time or two before school. Don't miss a single basketball, softball, or any sports practice. Play your heart out in every single game. Honestly, just take the time to do your homework. Partake in spirit week, and dress accordingly for every day. Really enjoy your favorite classes, take the time to work extra hard on projects. Do something to be proud of and make memories you'll never forget. Don't let any single person or group dull your personality and most importantly, truly let it be one of the best years of your life.