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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A Letter to A Naive Sixteen-Year-Old Me, From an Equally Naive 21-Year-Old

Do you, and do it well.

Dear Me,

I hope this letter finds you well, but knowing what I know now, I also know that it might not. Sixteen was a hard age for me to live through, and it will no doubt be equally as hard for you.

You think that the other kids in your class think you’re stupid because you can’t do your Calculus homework, and because you constantly say ‘I don’t know’ when the teacher asks you to answer a question. You think that choosing a dress for the junior prom is hard since your mom is hardly ever around. Or maybe you think that it's going to be so hard to apply for colleges when you have no idea how you're coming up with the money, even though you've applied to and been rejected from a bunch of minimum wage jobs.

These are all hard things to put into words. But the truth is, you’re not the first sixteen-year-old to go through this kind of stress, even though you think that you are. While these things seem like they’re so important to you right now, I need you to realize that these things are not important. Not at all.

Being worried about how you look and what other people think of you might always be things you struggle with, but in the next five years, you will go on to do so many things that show you exactly how much you are worth.

In the next five years, you will go from a young girl to a young woman in the blink of an eye. You will start living on your own and being responsible for yourself. You’ll learn to drive and buy your first car. You’ll get into college. You’ll meet some new people, and stay close to old friends too. You’ll score your first gigs beyond retail and food service. You’ll treat everyone you know with respect and decency until they give you a reason not to. You will be the one your friends go to for all their “grown-up” advice. You will give your parents strength in the rough times that they both have ahead.

And along with all of those things, you might even notice that some of the best things you do are those that you actually won’t do. You won’t hold onto old grudges. You won’t stay silent about things that bother you. You won’t let anyone tell you that you are not capable of doing the things you want to do. You won’t stop trying to explore the wonderful world around you. You won’t stand for people treating you like you don’t matter. You won’t stop trying to improve your skills or stop trying to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.

The problems that you may have to deal with at sixteen only seem big because these are the only problems you're saddled with right now. They will not continue to consume your world as an adult. I can’t exactly tell you that you will never experience other hardships, and I certainly won’t tell you that things will be easy. But what I can vouch for is that the next step of your life will absolutely prepare you for anything that will be thrown your way. In the next five years, you'll learn to care less about what others think of you and listen to yourself first.

I can also tell you that the GPA you have right now does not reflect you. Neither does the dress you wore one time to a dance, and neither does being rejected in any capacity. Anyone who says otherwise can kick rocks. Do you, and do it well.



Cover Image Credit: Hayley Ladjack

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The Stages Of Becoming An Official Adult

College was all fun and games, now it's time to actually grow up.

With my graduation approaching, the idea of being an "official adult" is becoming more of a reality. I know what you're thinking, Anna, you're 22 years old, you're already an adult. When I say "official adult", I mean a self-sufficient, employed, thriving person that's in a position to make major life decisions. So, yes, I'm an adult, but I'm just now becoming an "official adult."

1. Choosing your city.

Wow. This is very intimidating. You've spent basically your whole life wherever your family lives or wherever your college is. Now it's time for you to choose a city based only on the job market and your personal preferences. You're not constrained to anything! Move to Shanghai if you want! This is probably the most exciting but the scariest decision you will make during your "adulting" process.

2. Finding a job.

Yes, I'm employed right now, but I'm talking about that first job after graduation where you are doing something related to the degree you graduated with. Luckily, I've already made it through this phase, but I know for many, this is the most terrifying part of the whole "adulting" process.

3. Apartment/Home Search

Okay, you know your city. You've got your job. Now you've gotta find somewhere to live. This is also a bit scary, but it is super fun! I recently signed my lease for my new apartment and I can't wait to move in! My tips for you are make a list of your must-haves, wants, and "it'd be nice ifs" and take it with you to tours. Tour every complex you think looks like it might fit your preferences! I toured 15 apartments in 1 day, and the one I chose wasn't even on my list to visit! I just popped in and fell in love with it! Make sure you consider proximity to work, grocery shopping/food nearby, laundry situation, security, etc. And have fun!

4. Budget Time!

This was kind of fun for me, actually. I like structure and organization, so knowing EXACTLY how much I had to spend on what, and then seeing how much I had leftover because of my "adult job", made this a super fun and not too stressful part of the process.

5. Move-In!

Graduation is either already here or quickly approaching and it's time to start packing up and moving. This is SO FUN! Try to stay organized for your own sanity, but seriously just have fun and enjoy the process. Life is about to get crazy, so just enjoy getting to start fresh in a new city and new apartment with a new job!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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