An Open Letter For The Graduating High School Senior

To The Graduating High School Senior, Here's What I Wish I Knew When I Was In Your Shoes

Here's a few things I wish I knew before spending four years in high school.

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To those still in high school, here's my advice to you. I know people always claim that the four years go by so quick. I'm here to verify how incredibly true that is — you have to embrace your high school moments before they're gone.

1. The drama isn't worth it

I can promise you, the drama never lasts. You won't remember half of the gossip, arguments, or drama a few years down the line. Remember that these issues never last forever so just do your best to keep moving forward. Don't let other people's opinion on you affect how you see yourself.

2. It is never too late to do what makes you happy

When you're deciding on your future plans, it is never too late to switch your interests. Even more important- explore all of your options. Never limit yourself.

3. Don't hesitate to make new friends

Branching out is a very important part of finding who you are. Even if you're shy, try to put yourself out there. Surround yourself with people you want to be around.

4. There's nothing wrong with being single

I don't know your situation, but most of the time if you're not being treated the way you deserve, you need to be by yourself. High school isn't the time to find your true love. (But if you do, good for you!)

5. Be yourself

I know sometimes it's hard to be your true self when you're constantly seeing the image of someone else. But, your true friends and loved ones will love and support you no matter what.

6. Be safe

I know you think you're invincible, but DRIVE SAFELY. Be careful who and what you surround yourself with.

7. Don't make forever decisions based on temporary feelings

It's so easy to get caught up in the way you feel. But, it's even easier to change your life forever if you don't focus on what is right for you and your future.

8. Remember you aren't alone 

There is always someone there to listen to you rant and help you through the issues you face. Don't isolate yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed.

9. Remember to make the most of the moment 

Go to as many school functions as you can because these memories don't repeat themselves.

10. Things aren't always easy

Friendships end, you fail a test, you undergo so much stress, you study for hours on end, you go through personal issues. There will be times you feel defeated and that's okay. Just remember everything happens for a reason and things will eventually work themselves out.

11. Don't blink 

Before you know it, you're going your separate ways from the friends you've known forever. You have to say, "see ya later" to your family. These four years will be incredibly busy, but you need to embrace and enjoy these moments because they fly by.

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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I'm Not The Same Person I Was In High School But I'm Feeling Those Same Feels As I Enter My Senior Year Again

You can change your hair and you can change your mind, but you can't change the fears that come with senior year.

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I've always had a baby face and haven't grown an inch since middle school, so if you were to look at comparison photos from my high school years to today, you probably wouldn't see as much of a difference as I do.

The girl who I was in high school feels like another identity compared to who I am today. Past the box-dyed red hair and thick black pencil eyeliner that I woke up an extra thirty minutes to apply *cringe*, I don't recognize the person who I was once. We have similar ambitions and values, but the way I see the world has drastically changed.

The way I view my looks, my faith and my worth have been shaped by my college years, and that's pretty rad.

Still, entering my senior year of college, I am starting to carry the same worries that I once did three years ago.

I believe as much as your habits and ideals may change, we still carry our same fears. We can shake them, replace them or try to erase them, but the things that truly make us who we are is often the things that we don't like about ourselves. The thing that I carry with me is: worry.

I remember being eighteen years old with pamphlets of schools in front of me for ideal colleges I would like to attend. I knew deep inside I didn't really know what I wanted, but I figured it would all work out in the end. And it did, of course, but not even close to the way I could expect it to play out. I ended up at a college I barely considered, studying a major I didn't know existed and in a career path I never knew I could thrive in.

Call it what you want, the universe or fate or God, whatever you choose to believe in, but there is a path lined up for you and it will be glorious. My senior year of high school I simply drastically struggled to find it. I thought I knew everything until I was brutally shaken by the fact that I knew nothing at all.

A senior year is the same for all of us, universally, and there's a beauty in that.

It means that we are closing a chapter in our lives and what lies on the next page can be one of the hardest pages to write. So, as I am preparing to enter my senior year of college, I can feel the worry of what may come next for me beginning to weigh on my shoulders.

I have experienced this abrupt change before, leaving high school with hopes and "we'll stay friends forever, right?" written in our yearbooks. I know the worry will end, the story will continue and I will continue to prosper in my endeavors. But the unknown of what is to happen to us, once we step out of the comfort zones we have painted for ourselves, is scary. And I am afraid.

I am humble in my accomplishments but anxious for more in my life.

And I hope that in another three years from now, I remember who I was in this moment and smile at myself. And also make fun of myself. It'll either be my velvet hair scrunchies or my cardigan collection. Most likely the cardigan collection.

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