how to figure out life

It's Ok Not To Have Everything Figured Out Yet

You cannot control everything in your life.

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For some odd reason, after you graduate high school, almost every single person in your life expects you to have some type of plan.

Are you going to work? Are you going to college? Are you going into the military?

If you don't have any of these questions answered or figured out, or even if you decide to take a year off, you get disapproving stares. You get disapproving head shakes as if they're absolutely disappointed in your decisions.

Let me go ahead and tell you: it's okay not to have everything figured out.

I'm only eighteen, so I know I'm not the prime example. Hell, anyone else would be a better example than I could ever be. I'm so confused with life, so overwhelmed by the thought of my future, that I can barely live in the present.

However, just know that everything works out.

My mother became pregnant with my brother after graduating high school, and for a few years, all she had was that diploma. With three children (and two step-children, I may add), she went out and got a certification in Phlebotomy while she worked three jobs.

My grandfather passed away whenever my father was nineteen years old. My father wanted to go into the military, but he stayed at home to support his family. After working construction and driving an eight-wheeler for years, he's finally established his own company with my step-brother.

Everything may not make sense right now. Everything may seem like a blur, and you're so desperately clinging for that sense of control.

You cannot always be in control of your life.

So many factors of the world and so many accidents can change our lives forever. I could change my major from biology to art for some reason (although I am a terrible artist, it could happen). I could decide that I don't want to live in Georgia and suddenly move to Canada.

Your life is going to continue on as it wants. Life does not cater to your needs.

You will be happy. You will be sad. You will feel worthless. You will feel selfish. You cannot control every single thing that ever happens

.Live your life as it is right now. If you don't have anything figured out, if you're in a small little bubble with no way of popping the surrounding goop, it's perfectly fine.

You will get through this. You will figure out what you're going to do, the meaning of your life, what you're here for.

So take life by the saddle, and give it hell. You only live once.

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An Open Letter To The Rising Senior

Cherish every minute of Senior Year.
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To the rising senior:

You are getting ready to embark on this crazy journey called Senior Year. Yes, I said crazy. It WILL be the BEST year of high school yet, but it is also the hardest. Savor EVERY minute of it because it goes by way too quickly.

When you walk into school on the very first day, stop and take a look around. Look at the people in your classes, look at your teachers, look at the hustle and bustle as you walk through the hallways, look at it all because on your last day, when you walk out of those doors for the final time, you will wish you had done more, cherished more, and you will probably want to turn back time and do it all over again. Not because you had not gotten involved or made the memories you wanted to but because you know that your life is going to change completely after high school, and you just want to hold on to the person you are right now, at this time, at this place.

When you go to the first Friday night football game of the season, make it a night you will never forget. Rain or shine, make sure you are sitting in the stands cheering on your team. Look at all the fans, the football players, the coaches, the cheerleaders, the band, the student section. Take in all the sounds, smells, and tastes of the boiled peanuts or fried Oreos. Be loud and insane, go wild after every play, go to EVERY game (home and away), and enjoy everything about being under the Friday Night Lights. Your last football game will be emotional; trust me, you will most likely leave in tears. Realizing that you'll never be a student in those stands again hits you hard, and it's definitely a feeling you will never get back.

When you find yourself sitting at home on a Saturday night, find something to do. Go out to eat or fix a meal with your family. Plan a family game night or any fun activity you all enjoy doing together. Most likely, you will be moving off to college in a few months and will find yourself wishing you had spent more time with them. Spend time with your friends. In a few short months, you probably will not be at the same college and will not see each other every day. You may not be in the same town or even within driving distance next year, make all the memories you can now. Senior year is about making memories you will cherish for the rest of your life, so make the most of it. You will be thankful that you did.

When you go to prom, wear your dream dress/tux, don't stress about a date, ask that guy/girl you want to go with, go to the fancy restaurants, dance until midnight, and stay up all night with your friends. Don't worry about what people think. This night is yours; make it one of the best of your life.

When you're sitting with your classmates at graduation, look at your administration, your teachers, and the thousands of people in the audience. Walk across that stage with confidence and pride because you did it. Sing your Alma Mater to the top of your lungs. I promise you will be glad you did. Graduation is the final time that you and your class will be in the same place at the same time. You will never be or feel this way again. Your time as a high school student is coming to a close; finish strong and hold on to all the memories made.

Going back to visit after graduation is nothing like walking the hallways as a student. Sure, past teachers and friends greet you and welcome you, but something about it just doesn't feel right. This place is not your home anymore. You've finished your time here. You're always welcome, but you have more things to see and accomplish. Look back and be thankful for your time in high school and how it prepared you for your future. Your years here were great, but they will not be the "best times of your life." Better things await you, and the BEST is yet to come.

Love,

An Alumni

Cover Image Credit: thechill

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How High School Destroyed My Self Esteem

Where did the confidence go?

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Not too long ago my parents recovered a collection of home videos from my childhood, and recently, myself and the rest of my family have been taking the time to watch them. It has been quite an experience watching footage of a baby me crawling across the carpet or taking my first steps, but the videos of myself that I find I am most interested in watching are the videos of me when I was a little older, around elementary school age.

As is demonstrated in the multitude of videos featuring me dancing around my kitchen and finding ridiculous ways to get the attention of the camera, I was an outgoing, funny, and lively young girl. I didn't shy away from being the center of attention and was something of a comedian when the camera was turned my way. However, the reason I found these videos so interesting to watch was not just because I found my younger self hilarious. Instead, I was fascinated by the smaller me's enormous personality, because it is such a deviation from the way I am now. This led me to wonder, where did that girl go?

High school is a difficult time for all who experience it. Students face pressure to do well in their classes and meet expectations so that they can get into a good college, which often results in massive amounts of stress and anxiety. However, there are other, social, factors that make high school feel like a battlefield, factors that I, personally, had a difficult time overcoming and still affect me to this day.

When I look back on my four years of high school I realize that I placed far too much importance on popularity and fitting in. I had a set group of friends throughout high school and our group could be considered decently popular, which, at the time, quelled my anxieties about being unliked or alone. Because of these anxieties, I was desperate to keep my friends, even it meant spending time with people I didn't like or didn't make me feel good about myself, and had to teach myself lessons like hiding my true self in order to fit in. This resulted in much unhappiness because many of the friends that I had chosen to be with weren't great at being friends. They were mean, selfish, and often tore me down instead of showing me the support an insecure teenager needed from her friends.

As a result of having mediocre friends, it was often hard to feel like I had a support system when it came to dealing with the problems every teenager faces. Insecurities and lack of understanding about my own body led to weight, which didn't help boost my confidence either. To add to this, my friends, who I believed to be skinnier and prettier than me would often express dislike for the way they looked, which led me to believe that I had no reason to be confident in myself.

This culture of insulting oneself also increased my insecurity, as it left me feeling like I wasn't permitted to have confidence in myself, and instead had to tear myself down whenever I got the chance. Reflecting these negative feelings about myself instead of promoting body positivity warped my mind and made me feel unable to like the skin I was living in. There was no one to tell me that I was allowed to let myself feel good, to look in the mirror and like the girl that looked back at me. Instead, I felt pressure to conform.

So, to answer the previously posed question of where the little girl in the home videos went, here's the answer:

She didn't disappear. She was simply torn down by too many people, especially herself.

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