“You’re gonna miss this.”

You’ve finally made it to the long stretch. Four long years of hard work will finally pay off as your years as a high schooler come to an end. The spring season is always hectic, but now more than ever. Sooner than you think, it will be three weeks until graduation and you’ll have to face the goodbyes that come along with it. Prom, track meets, soccer games, tennis matches, baseball games, competitions, districts, sectionals, and state will all soon pass. You’ll start to notice yourself recognizing your upcoming “lasts.” Last dance, last cafeteria lunch, last time on the field, court, stage, mat, runway, etc., last class period with that teacher you dread, last class period with the teacher you love, last Monday as a senior, last time daily seeing your friends, but most importantly, the last time you’ll be a student at your high school.

Whether you like to admit it or not, high school educated you about so much more than you expected. Both academically and socially, you grew. You made memories that you’ll never forget, and friends you’ll never lose. It was an important part of your life, and it made a difference in you. While it wasn’t exactly like High School Musical like we were all expecting, it shaped us.

So while you rush to fill out last-minute scholarships, study for AP tests, stress about college arrangements, and snatch your diploma; slow down. Seriously. Enjoy these last few months as much as you can. Don’t be afraid of being nostalgic. Class of 2017, don’t forget:

  • Make the best of everything: you’re going to miss some of it.
  • Enjoy yourself: you only get one senior year.
  • Go to everything one last time: just because.
  • Try something new: you only have one more year.
  • Popularity isn’t power: seriously, be nice.
  • Ask for help: reaching out to others is rewarding in the end.
  • Stand up for yourself: don’t let anyone break you.
  • Do what makes you happy: this year is about you.
  • Try: it counts later.
  • Reward yourself: you deserve it.
  • Help underclassmen: you were them once.
  • Go to dances: you’ll regret not going.
  • Enjoy the little things: they won’t be there forever.
  • Expect nothing: not everyone will give you the recognition you deserve.
  • Smile: kindness is free.
  • Study: grades matter.

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

  • Leave your mark; make those past four years worth it.

It will be bitter-sweet, the exit from your comfort zone, but the entrance to your future will be just the same. The ups and downs aren’t over, the challenges not settled, but the opportunities have just begun.

So as you sit in the theater seats of the auditorium one last time, as five am approaches the clock, as your lock-in draws to a close, and you watch a slideshow of images displaying the past through the present with your classmates, take a deep breath and look around you. This is it. The world awaits.

“After tonight, who knows where we’ll be tomorrow.

What if we’re never here again?

After tonight, this will be a lifetime ago.

So we’ll stop the world from moving, stop the clocks from turning.

This time is ours.”

"Ours" by the Bravery