As all of you lovely young high school seniors prepare for your “big year,” I just wanted to pass on a few things that I learned. I know it’s cliche and you’ve probably heard it a million times by now, but live this year to the fullest and enjoy it while it lasts. It will fly by before you even know it. Rule the school with all the pride that being the top dog allows you, but remember that you once were that dorky little freshman with a middle part and a too-big backpack. It’s going to be tough. If you go to a school as competitive as mine was, the teachers aren’t going to take it easy on you simply because it’s your last year. They’re going to expect more from you and push you to prepare yourself for what comes next. The last rounds of standardized tests are taken, and let me tell you, studying and preparing for these is crucial. If you feel that you’ve done the best that you can do, then I promise you, it will be enough to find happiness and success for you. College applications are added to all of this academic pressure and for them all I can say is start early and take it seriously. Put your heart and soul into that essay, but don’t let it ruin your life. Similarly, if you choose to attend college the following year, there truly is a place for everyone. Name and reputation doesn’t matter. If you will be happy and successful there, then that’s all that matters. I’m being 100% honest, you will find a place for you. You don’t even have to have it all figured out just yet. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to map out your whole future. You have time. But once all that academic stuff is done, remember to have fun. Participate in all those cheesy school activities. Go to homecoming or the rivalry game or maybe just a random one just because you can. Join a new club or even a sport if you want. Dance your heart out at prom, whether it’s with a date or your best friends. Cherish the moments you spend with your friends, your favorite teacher or coach, and your family. Soon everyone will be scattered across the country, pursuing their own hopes and dreams. The kid that you’ve gone to school with since kindergarten may not be in the same state as you next year. Or even the same country. So take it all in. Choose which friendships you truly think will last and focus on building them up. You don’t have to go out and party every weekend. Truthfully, the nights I just sat in my room talking nonstop with my girlfriends were some of the best ones. Lastly, get excited. You’ve got so much to live for so might as well enjoy it.
To the seniors: