For four years, this day has only been a distant dream.
You've been looking forward to this day ever since you stepped foot into the building I can almost guarantee you've at least once called a prison. Whether you like it or not, that prison became everything you've ever known. The faces you pass every day in the halls, the same friends you sit with at lunch every single day, and the routine you've had for four years: let every detail sink in. There are things you don't even know you'll miss.
This year has been full of "lasts" for you: your last first day of school, your last football game, and your last prom.
With every passing milestone, the future just became closer and closer until now. The day you've been dreading or looking forward to (or maybe a little bit of both) is finally here. You're probably wondering where you go from here. From someone who has experienced all of the same "lasts" you've experienced, I can tell you that how you choose to spend them makes all the difference.
Maybe you've stuck by the same friends you've had since you were in diapers. That's perfectly okay. Lifelong friends are few and far between and should be cherished and held onto tightly. As you prepare to walk through the doors of your high school one final time, you realize that although you have some of the best friends in the world, there are people in your school you have never even spoken to. Even if it's your last day and you may never see some of those people again, just a "hello" or "have a good summer" could leave a lasting impression.
Something I learned is that no one is ever, ever too proud to speak to someone who might not be "cool."
And more importantly, I learned that if you base your conversations on whether or not you think the person you're talking to is cool, you're just missing the point. Just the feeling of being listened to can make someone's day and even the simplest conversations can turn someone's world around. For years, I tried so hard to fit in with people who couldn't have cared less about me or the things I was passionate about. It wasn't until after struggling with that mentality and finally letting it go that I found true friends and true happiness.
We've been told that high school is the best four years of our life, and we've been told it's the worst four years of our life. I've found that we can love high school and all its glory, but there's no need to go back. To a senior on your last day of high school, leave knowing you've made the most of every moment, but understand there's a legitimate reason time travel doesn't exist. Maybe knowing that you'll never get those four years back is a little scary. Look at it as a way of knowing that if you've made those four years count, you won't need them back at all.
To a senior on your last day of high school who needs to hear this, maybe you still don't know your next step. It could be college, or you could already have a job lined out. Whatever it is, know that because you worked tirelessly and set goals for yourself in high school, your work ethic will follow you wherever you go and take you places you can't even imagine right now. Even though you're a roller coaster of emotions today and you're saying goodbye to everything that's familiar, remember this: there are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.