Dear High School Senior,
First and foremost, I’d like you to congratulate yourself. That’s something I didn’t do enough. Contrary to what you may believe, graduating high school is a big deal. You may be the first in your family to do so, so stop undermining your accomplishments, no matter how “small” you might think they are.
The only person stopping you is you; you’re your own worst enemy.
If your goal is to attend college after high school, make sure that’s what you make this year about. Don’t think of it as “Wow, I’ve worked so hard, now I get to relax.” Instead, think of this as your college prep year. Take that extra AP or honors course. Don’t overwork yourself, but definitely don’t settle. Go the extra mile, because you don’t want to look back and have regrets. Very rarely in your adult life will you get a do-over. There’s no room for excuses in the real world. How you spend your time, and the choices you make will ultimately determine the outcome.
“I wish I took that class more serious.”
“I wish I had better attendance.”
“I wish I asked more questions.”
This year is about you. It’s true that you and all your friends are traveling down a road, but you must remember that you’re not all traveling down the same road. The only name on that diploma is yours, the only name on your car lease one day will be yours- the only person responsible for your life is you. Now is the time to take control, because
if you’re always thinking about what your friends are doing or who’s going to help you along the way, you’ll never reach your full potential.
The next thing I want to share is that even though your days of sitting in a high school classroom may be over, the learning continues forever. Yes, those corny “Learning is a Lifelong Journey” posters that your teacher has in their room are valid. You will be learning every day of your life. What might change, is how exactly you’re doing this learning. College is all about applied learning. You’re given a bunch of information, resources, etc., and you are to do with that what you will. Yes, you still have exams and papers, but those are standard instruments of learning. The learning itself, is what you get out of the experience and what you do with the information that you are given.
If you only remember three things from this post, let it be these:
- Get a planner. Write any and everything down. Make to-do lists, set reminders, personal deadlines, goals, or just doodle to relax your mind. A planner, not just for writing down your homework, but for writing down important dates and deadlines, making to-do lists (a personal favorite of mine), and to get a sense of time. Having a plan makes a world of a difference and helps you to stay organized in the times where you may feel that your life is out of your control. Writing stuff down and having a physical list to look at forces your brain to remember these things. There’s literally science behind it, so if you don’t trust me, trust science!
- Put yourself first. I don’t mean to be selfish. I mean look out for yourself and have your best interest in mind to get to where you need to go. This also means taking breaks when needed because if you don’t, you’ll burn out.
- Don’t forget to have fun! Stop taking yourself so seriously. Do whatever you consider “fun” because you’ll only live this life once. If you’re a child at heart, you’ll never grow old. I know you’ve probably heard a million times from older family members and administrators that “this year’s gonna fly by in the blink of an eye.” I know you’re probably sick of hearing it, but they’re right. Enjoy it.
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