An Open Letter to Future High School Seniors 

“Senior year flies by!” they said. You’ve probably heard this saying about 900 times by now, but it’s true. I was there at this time last year. 

 

Excited for homecoming; one last pep rally; Friday night football games; hanging out with your friends over winter break, and then dreading those all nighters for the exams. You play with your team one last time underneath the stadium lights, or in a gym filled with screaming fans, and say goodbye to your coach for the past 4 years. You think graduation is an eternity away. You think, “there is no way I’m going to make it.” 

The only thing keeping you going come January is that countdown to #SENIORSPRINGBREAK!! You get back to school after a fun-filled 10 days off of school. You dread every second of the next month and a half until you graduate. You may even question why the heck you didn’t graduate in January. You slowly start receiving graduation invitations and your summer weekends become really full, super fast.  

Finally, your last day of school arrives. You walk the hallways one last time. You say goodbye to the teachers who helped you through your hardest moments— and the ones who caused them. You say goodbye to your underclassmen friends, knowing you will see them this weekend at a party. You say goodbye to the building you spent at least eight hours a day in, five days a week. Everything is still so surreal. How can you be graduating? You still feel like you’re 12. 

You head off to the class picnic and talk to people you may have never spoken to before. It’s like something all of sudden kicks in— you may not get the chance to see these people again, aside from graduation. You go to prom and have an absolute ball! “It was the best night ever!” people will say. You have a blast dancing the night away with your best friends and then slowing it down with your date. You look to both sides and see your two best friends slow dancing with their dates and think to yourself that this only happens in movies. 

 

Countdown to ACTUAL graduation begins. You have about five days until you’re an actual alum of your school district, where most students have spent the past 13 years of their lives. Graduation day arrives: you go to rehearsal in the morning and out to breakfast with your friends after. That night, you find yourself in a sea of blue with the other 800 kids you are graduating with. You dread the four-hour ceremony, but you put a smile on your face for your parents and family who have supported you for the past 18 years.  

You’re still completely oblivious to what is happening. You walk across the stage and shake your principal’s hand one last time, along with a ton of other people you haven’t even seen but are “important.” Graduation is over— you flip your tassel to the other side of your cap and head on your way to the all-night party. You see most of your “friends” one last time this night. You make plans to hang out all summer, but the reality is that everyone is busy traveling, working, and getting ready for college. 

 

The reality of college doesn’t hit you until August— or that’s when it hit me at least. You slowly start collecting items for your new 12x12 “home” and meet the person you will be living with for the next nine months. Your graduation party comes and goes, and you promise everyone as they leave that you’ll get together one last time before you leave. 

The truth is that this is the last time you will see them until you return home from college. For some, it’s the last time you will hang out with them, ever. The days slowly disappear. Your life is crazy—working, pulling countless all-nighters to create the most memories possible, saying goodbye to family, and taking those day trips with your best friends to unknown locations. 

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

The final week arrives. Your best friends from high school are leaving, one by one, day by day. You feel a ton of different emotions. You are stressed trying to get yourself packed. You want to say goodbye to everyone, but the secret is that’s impossible. 

“Goodbye hangouts” turn into a goodbye text with a “catch you at winter break.” You say goodbye to the people that have been by your side your entire senior year. You take 18 years of your life and pack it into small boxes. You choose your clothing wisely, knowing you have no space— but you love your clothes way too much to leave them behind. 

You and your parents have a special connection at this time. You love them to death, but they get super overwhelming with the whole “I’ve been to college before” line. 

 

You run to Walmart and get everything you may possibly need for the next three months of your life. Not that there aren’t stores on campus, but your survival mode kicks into high gear. You look at your bank account and question how you are going to survive considering cafeteria food is AWFUL!! You take one last drive around your town and say goodbye, trying to hold in the tears, but the reality is they slip out anyway. 

You go to your favorite restaurant one last time, knowing December is further away than you think. You have one last hang out with your best friend that consists of all your favorite things, reminiscing on memories, and a lot of crying. You say goodbye to your best friends one last time. 

 

Move in day arrives. You load your parents’ cars with years of memories and months of clothing. You close that trunk tightly and pull out of your driveway one last time with your family. 

 

And that’s when it hits you. At that exact moment. 

 

You realize you are moving away from your family. Everything clicks— all of your friends are off creating lives for themselves. Your dog doesn’t understand that you are leaving, but you promise to be back. You are leaving a place where a lifetime of memories were created. You are starting your new adventure and your new life. You are here to become what you’ve always wanted to become. 

People say college is the best four years of your life and it will go by fast. Let me tell you that, for once, I believe them. High school went by way too fast, and now college is here— your last four years to figure who are out without having all of the adulting issues.  

Your best friend hang-outs turn into best friend FaceTime calls, that eventually turn into texts a few times a week and then a “snap streak.” 

 

Absorb every moment of every day. Go to every football game and every basketball game because one day you won’t be able to go to a Friday night football game and sit in the student section— you will sit with the rest of the alumni and players’ parents. Create the best year for yourself. Become who you want and be with who you love. Drop the drama. I promise that it won’t matter come summer time. Have an amazing senior year, and don’t regret anything!