This Is What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before My Last Semester Of High School

This Is What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before My Last Semester Of High School

You will never be able to go back to this moment.

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For many of you, this month starts the beginning of your very last semester of high school. You've probably already noticed by now that senior year is a year unlike any other. You've already experienced a lot of things for the last time. Your last first day of school. Your last high school football game. Maybe even your last school performance.

You've probably already chosen a college or career path. All of these things are typical to your senior year. You hear older siblings or friends talk about them. You know they're coming. They're expected.

What no one ever really talks about is that ever-present feeling as the number of days you have left as a high school student become less and less. No one tells you that, as the year comes to a close, your favorite teachers start to feel less like teachers and more like friends that you have to leave behind.

People don't mention how bittersweet it feels to clean out your locker and walk down the same hallway that you've walked down for years for the last time, past the same classrooms with the same walls that have seen you at your best, and at your worst.

It's almost amusing if you think about it. When you first start high school, four years seems like such a long time. It feels like you'll never graduate. And then when the second semester of senior year rolls around, you realize that those four years passed you by without you really even noticing.

You go to high school sports games, plays, dances, bonfires, and it feels like you'll keep doing these things, with these people, in these places, for the rest of your life. It's a little sad, and a lot scary, when you walk across that stage or field at graduation and all of a sudden, those things are over.

These people around you, your fellow students, will likely never all be in the same place at the same time ever again. Some of you will stay at home and go to school close by, or start working. Some of you will join the military. Some of you will move away and start a brand new journey. In all reality, you will never speak to some of these people, maybe even people that you considered friends throughout high school, ever again.

So take it in. Appreciate where you are, and the people you're there with. Spend time with your friends. Spend time with your family. Let the people that are important to you right now know that they are important to you. Be kind. Take lots of pictures. Write things down. Remember these last few months. People say that the years you're in high school are the best years of your life. I don't know if that's true, but I do know that they're pretty dang special, and if I could go back and do it all again, I wouldn't change a single thing.

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When You Give A Girl A Pair Of Cleats

It's more than a pair of shoes.
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When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her far more than a new pair of shoes. You are giving her new friends and new challenges and so many lessons and some of her best memories.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a team. You are giving her a group of girls that she might not have ever talked to if it wasn’t for these common cleats. A group of girls who will teach her how to be a teammate. A group of girls who will laugh with her and yell at her and train with her and win with her and lose with her. With a pair of cleats comes a group of mismatched people with a common goal who are learning from each other and working together.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a coach. This coach is going to play an instrumental role in her love or hate for the sport. This coach will work her hard. This coach will train her and teach her and encourage her and yell at her and make her cry and hug her and cheer her on. This coach wants to see her succeed. This coach knows what these cleats mean, what this sport means. And this coach will be someone that she will watch. She will watch the way that her coach talks to her and talks to her teammates and talks to the other team and she will see her coach’s responses to games that are won and games that are lost. This pair of cleats comes with a role model, for better or for worse.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her team practices. You are giving her practice that will instill discipline and dedication and commitment. You are teaching her that she is on a team and she is expected to put in time. You are teaching her that her presence is important and that people are relying on her. You are teaching her how to balance her time, because, now, she has school and practice and games and teammates and friends and family. And for the first time in her life, she has to establish priorities. With this practice time comes some of the hardest conditioning and training. With this practice time comes some of her favorite memories as she bonds with her teammates and laughs with them and works hard with them. This pair of cleats comes with quite the time commitment.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her game days. You are giving her bus rides and warm up playlists and team matching hair ribbons and orange slices at half-time and constantly looking for your water bottle on the sidelines. You are giving her a competitiveness that can only come out on the field. You are giving her the cheers from the sidelines and the screams of her coach and the exhaustion in her legs at the end of the game. You are giving her handshakes with opponents and a winning attitude even when she loses. With a pair of cleats comes pasta dinners and game days; These will become her favorite days.

SEE ALSO: My First Semester As A College Athlete

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a challenge. She is going to grow and learn, and she’s going to want to quit at times, but she is going to look down at her feet and remember why she’s doing this. She’s going to remember her teammates and her coaches and the amount of time she’s poured into this sport, and she’s going to realize that it’s worth it. She’s going to be covered in bruises and her socks are going to stink, and she’s always going to be looking for a sock or needing a hair elastic. She’s going to be tired, and she’s going to get hurt. But those cleats are going to establish lessons that she’s going to remember for the rest of her life, friends that she is going to learn to love, and discipline that she is going to be thankful for. If you’re the girl with the cleats, soak it in. Love the long practices and the exhaustion and the sound of the whistle that starts the game. If you’re the girl without the cleats, go get some. Try something new. Take the risk. Sign up for the team, the musical, the club. You will regret it if you don’t. Even if you fail, few things can teach you the lessons that those cleats will.

Sincerely,

The Girl Who Hung Up Her Cleats

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Cook

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If You've Been Friends With The Same Girls Since High School, You're Not Friends, You're Sisters

It's true when they say you'll know who your real friends are after graduating high school.

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We all say we will stay in touch after graduation, but we don't. And that's not a bad thing at all. Of course, everyone gets busy as we all transition into that college lifestyle. We make new friends and we change our priorities as well as our own character. We naturally grow apart and that's just life.

The people I did stay in touch with were the ones who shared similar values as me. Among the four of us, family and education were all we truly cared about and we didn't make time for distractions. What we described as "distractions" go along the lines of partying and relationships. Especially since this is our first year and maybe, later on, we can look at those distractions as something worthwhile but at this time in our lives, we aren't concerned about making time for that.

I still have other friends back home but I only met up with my closest friends who made time to meet up. Every girl has an inner squad of friends that they'll always tell everything to. These girls are essentially your bridesmaids. They'll be in your lives for a very long time.

I'm the only one from our group that went out of state for school in New York whereas most of my friends stayed in Virginia. I thought I'd never really talk to most of the people I went to high school with just because I lived far away now and focused on schoolwork. But I was most excited to see my friends who always had my back, who are always ready to lend a hand, who got me through the struggles of high school. I did not get to see some of my friends due to traveling and leaving for school early. May, MJ, and Bee made time to have a girls night out.

The first night, we went to the movies to watch "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." Of course, it was raining and we were stuck in traffic so we missed about 20 minutes of the beginning and chose seats right in the middle of the aisle, annoying the packed J row. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you must!

The Thursday morning after, we went to Tyson's Corner mall and browsed through the different stores. They helped me find the correct shade of foundation at Sephora because I don't know much about makeup. May convinced MJ and me to try sushi. I never really liked any seafood or the smell of fish, let alone eating raw fish! I attempted to try sushi when I was 11-years-old, but I couldn't swallow it down. Instead, I gagged it into a napkin.

May says it's probably because it wasn't made fresh and this time, it'll be tasty. We tried the California roll, the scorpion, and shrimp tempura, all cooked inside. Baby steps. My favorite was the California roll and I want to actually go out and try more sushi. It surprised me more than I expected.

Saturday evening, we went out to eat at a Turkish restaurant where I ordered a dish that I thought was a gyro wrap but ended up being a gigantic beef patty. I don't think I've eaten this much in one sitting EVER. We were all in a blissful meat coma. But we managed to still go to Magnolia Dessert Bar to try a green tea waffle cake and ice cream. And of course, to commemorate this day, we all went into their small but well-decorated bathroom to take pictures. We tried our best given the dim light.

My friends already headed back to school. I didn't realize how much I missed spending time with them. I wish we could have all gone to the same school and been suitemates. High school and college friends are different. May, MJ, and Bee, I've known them more than five years and I miss our conversations and stories. Coming back home to them gave me a sense of nostalgia. My college friends are AMAZING, but the girls I grew up with, my sisters, will always hold a special place in my heart.

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