To the Class of 2018,
Your time is almost up. The clock is winding down. Your future is about to take off.
Senior year is bittersweet, as you are leaving the dreadful place you've spent nearly every day at for the last four years.
But that's just it, isn't it?
You've spent nearly every day at this school for the last four years—and you're now expected to just leave and never look back? What?
As a freshman in high school, I imagined time to drag on, making me miserable as I waited anxiously for the wonderful day I got to walk down the stage, accept my diploma, and shake my principal's hand and hear his voice for the last time.
But that wasn't necessarily the case, as time didn't drag on. One day, I was in the middle of my freshman year, feeling bombarded by English tests and History quizzes (oh, weren't those the simpler days?), and the next I was picking out my senior prom dress and taking measurements for my graduation gown.
One day, I was walking nervously onto the field for my first high school match, and the next day, I'm walking off for the very last time.
High school isn't everything—oh, kid—I promise you it's not.
You have no idea what comes next. You aren't sure what it's like to live a completely new life, meet friends from halfway across the world, work out at the finest fields/gyms in the state, and control your own life. Yet.
It's a brand new experience, and it's beautiful.
But high school did teach me everything to know about who I wanted by my side as I made the important life choices. High school taught me how to overcome challenges—not in the classroom, but in life. High school taught me that not everyone will like you, school meals are nothing compared to home-cooked meals, and your family will always be there for you.
Enjoy the last few months of high school. Go to your senior prom, even if you don't feel like it. Get all sweaty dancing your heart out with your best friends for the very last time.
Drive around at night with your friends on the back roads you know so well, with the music way too loud and the windows down. Enjoy the last choir and band concerts, the last basketball games, the last time you'll be cheering in the student section.
Enjoy the last few months of roaming the halls on your "bathroom breaks" and seeing your closest friends working in the library.
Enjoy the college search—keep your dreams in check and always do what's right for you. Sure, your parents may be helping you out financially, but the school you choose will be where you spend the next four years of your life—make it grand.
Enjoy the last few months of cuddling your furry friend, because no matter how close you are, the relationship will change once you're gone for months at a time.
Enjoy your family. Don't pout about your mother forcing family time—embrace it. Play games, watch the newest movie, gossip about the latest town drama with your family. You'll miss them way more than you think.
Have the time of your life sorting through all the baby pictures to display at your graduation party. Decorate, celebrate, cherish. Graduation is about you. And if your mom wants to display yet another embarrassing childhood photograph, just let her. It will mean the world to her in ways we can't understand yet.
Hug your loved ones way too much—too much that they ask you to stop. Because some nights, a year from now, you'll be upset over a bad grade or sick to your stomach and all you need is a hug from them.
Walk around your town and notice the details you haven't observed in a while. Wave to your neighbors and meet up with old friends. Tying up those last few loose knots before graduation makes it seem much sweeter.
These four years have taught you something valuable: never take a moment for granted.
To the Class of 2018,
Enjoy these last few adventures. Stay out with your friends, yell louder than the rest at the basketball games, study harder than the kid next to you, and take a second to reflect on your last four years here.
Thank the ones who got you this far.
Class of 2018, hats off to you. You made it.
May your next four years be as bright and thrilling as these.