Today is the day! My little sister is going into her senior year of high school. The summer after my freshman year of college, I wrote a letter to incoming high school seniors, but I never got around to publishing it. Today seems like an appropriate day to finally share it. So this one is to my sister, and anyone entering your senior year of high school.. there is truly nothing like it.
Dear High School Senior,
Now that August is here and we’re all in back-to-school mode (at least I am), I thought I would do some reflecting. For starters, where has the time gone? In May I was dreading the three agonizing months I would have to be separated from Fayetteville, but now I’m not quite ready to leave home. The struggle is real people. Anyway, my sister and some great friends of mine are entering their senior year of high school. I know you are so ready to get the heck out of there. May just can’t come fast enough! And while I would never choose to go back, senior year was a good one, and there are some things I wish I had known.
Welcome to your many “lasts.” There will be your last ‘first day,’ standing on the front porch with your backpack so mom can snap her photo. The last back-to-school mixer. Then there will be the last home football game, and even if haven’t paid attention to anything but the boy you’ve been crushing on, you won’t want that game to end. You will have your last pep-rally, your last sports practice, your last game. Your last fundraiser. Your last school dance. And eventually, there will be the last homework assignment (thank goodness, you really won’t miss that). Your last school lunch. Your last day of classes. Your last final exam. You will close your locker, and walk out the door for the last time. And you will wonder where the time has gone.
Now, before you get all sad, remember that with all these lasts, come many firsts. You are exploring what’s next. You may spend weekends visiting colleges, and researching fields of study so you can choose the perfect major. Or maybe college isn’t for you, so you’re finding a job, or you’re going to travel, whatever it is, you’re planning for it. And the minute you have that diploma in hand, the world is yours, and your firsts will begin.
So here’s my advice: This is your final year, and whether high school has been the time of your life or absolute hell, you should make the best of it. Go to EVERYTHING. Every sporting event, pep-rally, dance, fundraiser, any school event, GO. Sure, maybe you’ve been anti-social and “too cool for school” for the past three years, but you are about to neglect opportunities that you will never have again. You may even have some fun and realize what you’ve been missing! Or, if you’re like me and you’ve been doing this stuff since freshman year, good for you. Go and enjoy it even more. Spend all the time you can with your friends. Some you may have known for a year, others you may have been with since kindergarten. Either way, soon you will all be heading in different directions to take on the world. You will not say goodbye forever, but you will not see them 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. So enjoy that time. That being said, don’t slack off with your school work. I don’t care if you’ve already been accepted into your dream school, your transcript (believe it or not) does include your senior year, and grades are still important.
Some say high school is the best four years of your life, I don’t know that I agree with that. But it is important. I bawled after I danced my last half-time, and my final state routine. And while tears are okay, your life is not over. Do not dwell on the lasts. Soak it all in, do as much as you can, and enjoy every second of it. That way, when you’re walking out the door for the last time, you can smile because you made the best of it, and you have so many memories that you will hold onto forever.
In the beginning of senior year, we beg the year to go by fast. Toward the middle, we beg it to slow down. And at the end, we wish it would never stop.
Nine more short months. You got this.