An Open Letter To A Rising High School Senior

An Open Letter To A Rising High School Senior

Going into senior year, there's a lot to take on. Here is just a little advice as you start out the last year of high school.

Dear Senior,

Time sure does fly by, doesn't it? It's already your senior year, and I'm sure there are a ton of mixed emotions to describe how you feel about it. You're nervous because you know that this year will be full of goodbyes, last chances, and new beginnings. However, you're also excited for what is yet to come. Senior year is a time where new opportunities will come your way, new expectations will be asked of you, and realizations about your future will take place. Get ready.

Looking back on high school, my senior year to be exact, I can tell you something I lived by that I don't regret one bit: make the best of it all. Go to every football game, every basketball game, every PTA event, join every service club that interests you, try out for every team, and be friends with everyone. It really is the last time you will be able to do most of it.

I know that it may not feel like your last year yet, but come second semester, everything will start to hit you. Everyone you come across will ask you where you're going to college, or what your plans are after you graduate. Everyone will be talking about the ceremony. The best feeling of them all is putting on that cap and gown the day of graduation and letting it all sink it. However, it's all going to come way too soon.

Don't worry about what everyone else will think of you. Do not miss out on anything you could possibly regret. Wake up every morning for school just counting down the days to a new beginning. Make every 'A' possible, because they will count for something. Go to every club meeting. Build a relationship with every teacher, coach, counselor, principal -- it will make a difference. Wake up every day at six in the morning like it is your last day of high school. Pull an all-nighter just to ace a test the next day. Do every single thing possible to make yourself proud on graduation day.

Some people say that high school is the best four years of your life, and I'm starting to believe they're right. High school will be full of ups and downs for everyone, but as I look back on the past four years, I only look back on the 'ups.' I've learned who my true friends are. I've learned lessons. I have discovered the popular hangout places, the best coffee shops, and tips and ideas that will last through college and the rest of my life. High school is what set me up for my future. I took classes that helped me to decide what I want to do with my life as well as meeting people that will help me to achieve these goals. It was a never-ending four years of accomplishments.

Coming from a recent high school graduate, take my advice and live every day like it is your last day in that place. Do not look back and do not miss any opportunity. If there is any doubt about it, take it. You'll thank me later.


A 2016 graduate.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Mathewson

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15 Stores That Have Free Gifts For You On Your Birthday, Yes, Even In Your 20s

Is it worth all of the free stuff? YES!

Do yourself a favor and go sign up for all of these rewards programs below. I are thinking about all the emails you are going to receive..but is it worth all of the free stuff? YES!

1. Auntie Anne's

Sign up for pretzel perk (really easy), and you get a free pretzel on your birthday. Who doesn't love Auntie Anne's? Perfect snack while you are on your birthday shopping spree! Don't get me started on those cinnamon sugar covered pretzels!

2. Baskin Robbins

Go in and tell them it is your birthday, and you will receive a Free Ice Cream. Their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is THE best, but its impossible to order wrong at Baskin Robbins.

3. Cracker Barrel

Go in and tell them it is your birthday, and you will receive a Free Dessert. Look around in the store, play some chess just like old times, and it would be such a great, down to earth place to celebrate!

4. Kendra Scott

1/2 off on one item during your birthday month. All you need is your ID, and they will discount your item!


Free meal on your birthday! Pancakes here I come!

6. Krispy Kreme

Sign up for eclub, receive a free donut :) Easy enough! I mean who doesn't want to bite into that a warm, sweet, sticky donut?

7. Panera

Sign up for (free) Panera Rewards, and receive free dessert. Oh, that is after your mac and cheese...ofcourse.

8. P.F Changs

Create an account = Free Appetizer or Dessert during your birthday month (THANK YOU FOR NOT LIMITING IT TO THE ONE DAY)

9. Sephora

Register with Sephora and they will give you a free gift on your birthday.

10. Steak n' Shake

Sign up for E Club for a free menu item on your birthday.

11. Starbucks

Getting tired running around to recieve your free items? Stop by Starbucks with your reward (app) to get a free drink!

12. Columbia Sportswear

Get that jacket you've been waiting for to go on sale, because you receive a 20% off coupon if you sign up for their rewards club.

13. ULTA Beauty

Get a free gift once you sign up for their (free) rewards. While you are in there, might want to ask for a free makeover?

14. Einstein Bros Bagels

Get your free birthday breakfast on them if you join their EClub (Again very easy)

15. DSW

Recieve a $5 Gift Certificate if you join their rewards, which is super easy because they just send you emails which most of the time is coupons.

Cover Image Credit: breleee • Instagram

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Depression Does Not Discriminate

A 20-something at a top university in her state, active in her sorority and other on-campus activities, excelling in her classes, with a stable boyfriend and a life-plan, from the outside you would never expect that girl to struggle daily with depression. You would never expect me to be that girl; but you never expected Kate Spade to commit suicide, either.


Recently Kate Spade, a very successful American designer, committed suicide in her New York apartment. I see people saying "I don't understand. She's rich and famous. She had it all." Similarly, in 2011 a boy from a neighboring high school committed suicide. People made comments about how many friends he had, how smart he was, how many things he had going for him, his lack of a "troubled past".

Next, I think of my cousin who attempted to take her life in middle school. We went to the same school but most didn't know we were related. I heard from teachers "What could an 8th grader possibly be depressed about?" I heard from the school principal that she had no reason to be depressed because she had good grades, was in Pre-AP courses, and had a friend group. I heard from other students that she, my cousin, was just looking for attention or that her boyfriend must've dumped her, but even then I knew my cousin was a lesbian and that there was no boy problem.

Depression was the problem.

Then, I think of my late aunt. From the inside, I knew some of the things going on in her life and her troubles, but from the outside, I knew people made comments about her 3 beautiful daughters, her "great marriage" and how she "had nothing to be depressed about."

And finally, I think of myself. From the outside looking in, I'm a successful 20-something with my life together headed down a straight and narrow path to early graduation from a great college and then onto law school. I have a great boyfriend, a mostly supportive family, and a great circle of close friends, all of whom love and support me endlessly. What could I possibly be depressed about?

But what people can't and will never see is that I, like so many people worldwide, suffer from a major depressive disorder. I fight demons on the daily that others can't and will never see. I struggle to get out of bed some mornings. I struggle to complete normal daily tasks. I struggle with my own depression, even 5 years after my diagnosis. I struggle. My cousin struggles. My aunt struggled.

Because of my depression and my inability to cope, I almost failed out of my university. But I bet you wouldn't guess that looking at me now.

Depression isn't selective in who it chooses to prey on. Depression doesn't care where you're from, how old you are, what your ethnicity is, what kind of family you come from, how much money your parents make, what your college major is, what extra-curricular activities you're involved in, none of it. Depression doesn't care. Unfortunately, depression is for everyone.

As people, it's time we destigmatize depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and so many other mental health issues.
It's time to start checking in with your friends and family.
It's time to start listening to people's experiences.
It's time to stop invalidating people when they open up and talk about their depression.

It's time to stop bringing up the apparent successes in peoples lives when they mention their internal problems.

It's time to stop saying that depression is all in someone's head.

It's time to stop saying that depression isn't real.

Because in the case of Kate Spade, Robin Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Lee Thompson Young, Kurt Cobain, Ernest Hemingway and so many others, success and money mean absolutely nothing when depression and other mental illnesses are breathing down your neck.

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