Dear class of 2018,
This is it: senior year. In about 7 months, you’ll be walking across that stage to receive your high school diploma. Graduation is the most anticipated day of high school. You just can’t wait to get those cap and gowns and throw your caps in the air. I know.
What I didn’t know was how fast it was about to go. Each day felt like an eternity and it seemed as if June would never come. But before we knew it, we were cleaning out our lockers of four years, signing our last yearbooks, hearing everyone’s future plans announced.
It’s your last honor society ceremony, but this time it’s you who’s receiving those gold cords. This time, the announcer says your name. “Anna Kropov is escorted by her parents. She will be attending Ohio University in the fall to major in biology pre-med.” We’ve all watched our beloved seniors walk across the stage. We all know what to do, except that it’s our turn now. It doesn’t feel real when the principal lays those gold cords around your neck, as you stand arm in arm with your family.
One month later and we’re trying on our caps and gowns, walking through those halls one last time. How is it already here? Is this real? Am I really walking into the gym for my graduation ceremony? I swore I would never cry leaving high school. I was so ready to leave, to start a new life and move to a place where nobody knew me.
What I didn’t think of was the 12 years I spent here. Not all of those years were good but not all of them were bad. The funny part about graduation was that I cried saying goodbye to my favorite teachers and not my classmates. (I don’t exactly miss them, except for a handful of special people. They know who they are.) I remember that everyone was just an emotional mess. Underclassmen laughed at us, telling us how we were so sentimental. Shouldn’t we be rejoicing? We’re done! We did it! We’re free!
While all of that is true, we realized that this was a big step in our lives.
It was time to walk away from everything we’ve ever known and step into a big, scary world. This past year was a roller coaster of emotions and stress, which hasn’t exactly escaped us. College lies ahead. A new school with strangers will become our new home in the fall. Not going to lie, it scared the heck out of everyone. We had to step outside our comfort zones and leave our childhood memories behind to become adults. It was a lot to take in at once.
So enjoy the time you have left in high school.
Go to those last football games, enjoy your last homecoming, participate in your privileged “senior skip day.” Thank your favorite teachers, because they’ll miss seeing you every day in the halls over the past four years. It’s okay to be scared and nervous about college searches. We all went through it.
My advice is to keep an open heart and mind. If you want to go to school far away, do it. Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from living your dreams. Your friends will love you if you’re five or 500 miles away. You will make new friends in college if you just branch out.
Senior year is a fun and exciting time in life, so live it up to the fullest. Try something new, cherish those memories and do what makes you happy. I know you don’t believe me, but trust me when I say that you’ll miss it a little bit. You’ll miss your home and your annoying parents who just want to look after you while you’re in college.
Don’t try to push through this year with an “I don’t care” attitude. Live a little, be sentimental, give your teachers a gift on graduation day. They’ll keep that little card on their desk for the upcoming years. It means more to them than you think.
I hope you all find your dream schools, but don’t get too caught up in the future. Focus on the present. Make the most of the time you have left. I hope all you Paupack seniors back home are living it up there. Enjoy it, you deserve to have a little fun on our beautiful lake. I love looking at your pictures and seeing those precious smiles. It makes me reminisce about my days spent as a cheerleader on those Friday nights.
Take it all in and finish strong, my loves. It’ll be worth it in the end.
An alum who moved to Ohio to follow her dreams.