To The High School Seniors As You Take On These Last Few Months

To The High School Seniors As You Take On These Last Few Months

Treasure these last few months.
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Dear high school seniors,

Treasure these last few months. Take in any and everything around you. No one is kidding when they say time flies by. With spring break right around the corner, time only gets faster. Before you know it, prom will be here and then the rest of your high school career will be winding down.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “I just want to be done!” Understandable, but here are my two cents: enjoy your last few months. You’ll never be there for the same reason again. Four years of memories, tears, laughter, and stress. Four years of busy-ness, growth, understanding, and knowledge. Four years preparing you for a life on your own.

Take a look around you. Look at all of your classmates and be thankful for what’s around you. These last few months are so precious and are months full of so many memories. It’s these last months that wrap up the four years of friendships made.

The overused “been there, done that” could not relate more to the gist of what high school is. Once you’re out of high school, you look back and reminisce about all of the times you had, good and bad. You thank the stars that you’ve moved onto another chapter of your life. But remember this: don’t take things for granted while you still have them. It sounds simple and uncomplicated, but it takes so much to recognize so little.

I know that senioritis is so real, and whether you’ve determined where you’re going or you’re stuck at a crossroads, believe me, that crossroads is so real because there’s such a weight to the decision of where you’re going to spend four years of your life and make a new home for yourself.

In all of this, my point is that it’s important to see through the typical day-to-day. Look at everything like you are never going to see it again because you will never see high school the same way again.

Despite the fact that I’m only a freshman in college, I still reminisce about high school and remember all of the fun and exciting and especially embarrassing times I had. We all know that high school is plain and awkward, but it’s a time in your life where you’re changing and growing. You develop into a new person who’s more mature and becoming their true self towards the end of high school.

Before you know it, you’ll be walking out of graduation with an empty (spoiler) diploma holder in hand, a smile on your face, and a tear in your eye (some will have more tears than others). Walking out of the place I graduated from is a memory that I will remember forever. It is a memory of moving into a new part of life and taking a leap of faith into new surroundings.

Cover Image Credit: Meghan King

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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