An Open Letter To All High School Seniors

An Open Letter To All High School Seniors

Pieces of advice from someone who recently was one.

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To All High School Seniors,

Congratulations! You have taken your last finals in high school, most of you have probably gotten in to at least one school, and you now can cruise into graduation. My senior year of high school was an amazing end to my high school career and time in my hometown and I know that the next couple of months will be just that for you too.

I want to give you some advice for your next couple of months in the city you will soon be leaving. It seems so long ago that I was in your place but at the same time I know how quickly those last months flew by.

Go to as many sporting events at your school as you have left. One day you will look back and wish that you had more memories cheering on your high school basketball team or eating a hot dog above the football field. Being the oldest, you can start all the cheers and chants and support your classmates in what will be for most of them their last athletic contest.

Thank your teachers. These men and women show up every day to teach you. Whether you believe it or not they want you to succeed and I doubt that any of them became a teacher just to be mean and give you an F. They have dedicated their time to helping you and even if you hated their class, thank them for their time and commitment to you and your classmates.

Make time for your family. Over the summer, when it feels like you only have a handful of weeks left, it's normal to want to spend all your time with your friends. But you are probably leaving your hometown for school and you can't forget about your parents and siblings because you're leaving them too. Just make a point to stay in one night to watch a movie or even have another home cooked, family meal.

Go to all of your favorite restaurants. Yes they will be here for you when you get back but it will be really fun to make a trip one last time before heading off to school. Go with your friends, sister, or dad and make a day or night out of it each time.

Take a lot of pictures but don't let it be the focus of your night. I wish that I took more photos every night when I was with my friends. I never focused on taking photos just because it seemed to take away from actually experiencing my last moments but now I find myself wishing I had just a few more. I love looking through my photos from my trips, dances, and nights out because it makes me smile remembering it all. I'm not saying put a bunch of makeup on and make sure your outfit is perfect every time you go out. I'm suggesting taking candids and random selfies whenever you want to remember a moment. Don't let it be the focus, just an extra.

Really, my biggest piece of advice is to cherish the time you have left and be grateful for your high school years and everyone that allowed you to be there. Senior year of high school is a special time for everyone and also scary. One of my teachers last year told us on our last day of class how special our time is in the moment we were at. He told us that we will never again, for the rest of our lives, be with these same people under the same circumstances ever again. His speech frightened me and it made my eyes swell because I realized my time living at home, being with my closest friends in a familiar, safe environment I had known for the past six years of my life was coming to an end.

This time is one of celebration, reflection, and excitement. Celebrate with your loved ones in the places you cherish the most. Reflect on the memories you have made and who you have made them with. Get excited for the next chapter of your life and know that it is okay to be nervous. Have fun and know that even though everything will never be the same, it will still be amazing in a different way.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade.

I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass, and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school, and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone, it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach:

Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off," and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake, I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself, not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, but you also turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It's about the players.

You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won't have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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To The Senior Who Thinks They WON'T Miss High School, You're So Wrong

It's hard to imagine you will miss a place like high school, but believe me, you will.

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I am writing this letter because, yes, this was me.

I could not wait to get out of high school. I hated the monotony of all my classes. I hated teachers who assigned busy work just to try to make it through the 50-minute class period. I hated being told when I could eat when I could leave and what I could wear.

I couldn't wait to graduate and get to college. The thought of creating a schedule for myself and getting to choose the classes I take seemed too good to be true. I continued to see people become sad at the end of high school and I couldn't help but think, "How could I ever miss high school?"

The truth is, you don't. I don't miss all the torturous monotony of high school, but it is naive of me to say that I don't miss some things.

To the tough guy like me who thinks you will graduate and never look back, here's what you will miss.

You will miss your friends.

Chances are more than 50 percent of your friends will not be going to the same college as you. Even the ones that do go to the same school will most likely have different majors than you, and let's face it— they might as well be a world away. You'll begin to appreciate your high school friends more and more. After all, those are the friends who knew and loved you through your awkward phase.

You will miss your teachers.

Until I got to college, I never realized how meaningful the relationships I had built with my high school teachers were. In college, you lose the environment where all of your teachers knew your name. While you might not miss certain high school teachers, you will miss the ones with which you built important personal relationships.

You will miss your family.

The family is involved in your high school career way more than you expect. Parent nights, grandparents' day, extracurricular activities. Your family, immediate and extended, are involved in your high school career in so many ways. When you get to college, you realize that it's all upon you. You won't have a parent signing all of your failed math tests. You won't always have a parent at your extracurricular activities.

You won't miss high school. You will miss the amazing people around you that helped you make it through your four torturous years of high school. So, if you're a graduating senior or even underclassmen, take a moment to appreciate the people in your life right now, because I guarantee you will miss them.

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