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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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try out or audition to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples-to-oranges comparison.

At a basketball tryout, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential castmember will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little payoff for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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To The Senior Who Thinks They WON'T Miss High School, You're So Wrong

It's hard to imagine you will miss a place like high school, but believe me, you will.

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I am writing this letter because, yes, this was me.

I could not wait to get out of high school. I hated the monotony of all my classes. I hated teachers who assigned busy work just to try to make it through the 50-minute class period. I hated being told when I could eat when I could leave and what I could wear.

I couldn't wait to graduate and get to college. The thought of creating a schedule for myself and getting to choose the classes I take seemed too good to be true. I continued to see people become sad at the end of high school and I couldn't help but think, "How could I ever miss high school?"

The truth is, you don't. I don't miss all the torturous monotony of high school, but it is naive of me to say that I don't miss some things.

To the tough guy like me who thinks you will graduate and never look back, here's what you will miss.

You will miss your friends.

Chances are more than 50 percent of your friends will not be going to the same college as you. Even the ones that do go to the same school will most likely have different majors than you, and let's face it— they might as well be a world away. You'll begin to appreciate your high school friends more and more. After all, those are the friends who knew and loved you through your awkward phase.

You will miss your teachers.

Until I got to college, I never realized how meaningful the relationships I had built with my high school teachers were. In college, you lose the environment where all of your teachers knew your name. While you might not miss certain high school teachers, you will miss the ones with which you built important personal relationships.

You will miss your family.

The family is involved in your high school career way more than you expect. Parent nights, grandparents' day, extracurricular activities. Your family, immediate and extended, are involved in your high school career in so many ways. When you get to college, you realize that it's all upon you. You won't have a parent signing all of your failed math tests. You won't always have a parent at your extracurricular activities.

You won't miss high school. You will miss the amazing people around you that helped you make it through your four torturous years of high school. So, if you're a graduating senior or even underclassmen, take a moment to appreciate the people in your life right now, because I guarantee you will miss them.

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