A Letter To All High School Seniors

An Honest Letter To All High School Seniors

My biggest piece of advice is to hold on to high school while you still can.


Only a year ago, I was in the exact same position you're currently in. I was a high school senior yearning to leave my hometown and gain the freedom that college would provide me.

November and December were strange months because everyone in my grade was at a different point in their application process and stressed that they needed to receive outstanding grades the first semester in order to impress their top college. Many students decided to tackle extra AP classes in order to look more appealing to colleges but would fall behind in those classes because of the time they dedicated to their applications. Some people had already applied early decision or early action, some waited to perfect their application and apply regular decision, and some people still hadn't even considered where they wanted to attend college.

The important thing to remember is that no matter what stage you are at in the application process, it's okay. It's called a process because it takes time. Deciding where you want to spend four grueling years should not be a choice made too quickly, especially since it could come with a huge financial burden. Although you shouldn't rush the procedure, make sure not to fall behind.

Have your common application done early to have an appropriate time for editing, look into which schools have additional application requirements, and don't stop improving your essay until you're completely satisfied. Waiting until the night before you plan to submit the applications is foolish because the quality will not be near as strong as it could be.

Yes, it's important to have a suitable amount of higher level classes and good grades, but that's not the top priority of senior year. If sacrificing taking an AP class or two means you'll have the time to attend your last homecoming or pep rally, it's completely worth it. Senior year could have a large negative effect on one's mental health, so it's equally as important to dedicate time for socializing as it is to do your school work. Not to mention, you'll regret not joining your friends for these occasions as they help celebrate your high school years.

Going to high school sports games, the school musical, or prom isn't only for Instagram pictures. One day they'll be some of the fondest memories you'll possess. My school hosted a battle of the classes every year where all of the grades fought in various games until one came out superior. Since I was buried in work, I had planned on not participating senior year, but last minute I changed my mind. Attending and winning my last battle of the classes will continue to be one of the most joyous moments I've experienced.

My biggest piece of advice to high school seniors is to hold on to every moment you spend there. I can admit that along with the majority of my peers, I wished for graduation day to come faster so that I could escape high school. High school felt too challenging, I got tired of seeing the same people every day, and I wanted to be able to do what I wanted with no restrictions.

As a freshman in college, it's hard to believe I ever wanted any of that. Even the easiest of college courses are 10 times more difficult than high school classes. I miss waving at dozens of people as I walked down the halls and I constantly wish for my mommy to tell me what the right thing to do is.

On the last day of high school, it hit me really hard that I didn't appreciate what I had when I had it. I must've cried at least 10 times that day as I looked around my school and realized it wouldn't be mine anymore. Being a student at that particular high school was a part of my identity for four long years, which suddenly don't seem so long anymore. Getting myself to exit the school that day knowing that the only time I would return would be as a visitor, not a student, broke my heart.

I know it's hard to imagine now, but your high school years could very well be one of the highlights of your life. I strongly advise you to allow the hours you spend there to last because, after so much time, it truly becomes your second home. Leaving high school and having to enter a completely different journey that is college taught me that you don't truly appreciate what you have until it's gone.

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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.

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 The Overwhelmed, Undecided High School Senior, It's Going To Be OK

Even if it feels like nothing will work out, it will somehow.


Let me preface this with a bit of my background to show why this is an important topic for me.

In April of my senior year, I had about five colleges to choose from. I also had a full scholarship from the Navy to do ROTC at the University of Washington. In the first week of April, I was offered an official visit to Brown University to tour the campus and meet students, which I did at the end of April. It felt like I had a plethora of options available, and I was trying to choose while also preparing for AP tests, finals, graduation, and working a job.

By May 1, I was suddenly medically disqualified by the Navy (therefore losing the scholarship), the offer acceptance window at nearly every other school closed, and I ended up accepting an offer at the University of Alabama, nearly 2,000 miles from home. For those few days at the beginning of May, I had never felt so lost and confused. I felt like I probably had a concrete plan at the University of Washington, and had even committed there, but that fell away in a blink of an eye.

I felt overwhelmed, unsure, and undecided.

As this year's seniors are wrapping up their final year of high school, preparing to commit to a college or go into the workforce, I'm sure many are feeling the same way. You're only 18, yet you're being asked to make a 4 (or more) year commitment that will likely dictate how much of your life unfolds. As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and perfectionism, this reality weighed down on me like an anvil. In all honesty, though, I see exactly why everything happened the way it did.

After a year of being so far away from home, I've learned a tremendous amount about myself, others, and what it's like to live in a completely different part of the country. I've learned lessons in patience, self-care, independence, and other attributes that I may not have learned if I had been closer to home. So, to high school seniors that may be feeling the same way:

It will be OK.

Yes, offers aren't final, life happens, and you very well may end up somewhere you never thought you would. Or, you may end up exactly where you dreamed. Either way, you will be given tremendous opportunities to grow as a person, find what you're passionate about, and hopefully, make some close friends along the way. As a Christian, I believe that God can use you literally anywhere, and I see how he has used me and taught me lessons at the University of Alabama.

So, cherish this last month of high school. Enjoy time with your friends, finish up necessary schoolwork, and have a blast at prom. Worrying about your future won't help it or change it. All you can do is your best, and if you do that, you surely will end up exactly where you need to be.

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