Dear Jo: and all of the other HS Seniors

jo,

You did it! Woah. You’re a big bad Senior. Bet you never thought this day would come, huh? As I think back (and look back at Facebook photos), there are a few things I want to share with you about this year.

Senior 2014

Be yourself. One of the hardest things to do your Senior year is to focus on finding yourself. Who the heck cares about what “everyone else” is doing, or thinking, or wearing. You just do you. If that means going on campus visits to a school that people question, DO IT, as long as you have interest in it. Maybe it means avoiding the hideous trend that your friends have adopted. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. Simple. This year before college is tough. Don’t spend it trying to impress your high school (or JuCo) buddies…

Research your options. Seriously. Just because you think you have a plan doesn’t mean you have the right plan. Look into schools and research their programs, social scene, scholarship options, location… Make a list of the schools you want to apply to, start working on your applications early and get them in before the deadline. Teachers, mentors, counselors, everyone is there to help you out. They all want to see you succeed. Take the time to be prepared to put your best foot forward (and be on time) and you’ll be just fine.

Listen to your teachers. Gross, can’t believe I just told you to listen to your teachers, huh? Seriously do it. Even if you hate what they teach… learn lessons from them. Going into college with an understanding of concepts is important, but the habits are even more beneficial. Study habits, engagement, how to avoid being called on when you don’t know the answer… You can learn a lot from your teachers this year, they want to prepare you for the next step!

Take the most bomb pictures ever. Everything from your Senior pictures, to dance pictures, to those awkward selfies with the whole football stadium… You’ll want these. Trust me. When you’re feeling nostalgic, decorating your dorm room or showing your new friends pictures from home… these come in handy.

Apply for scholarships. College is EXPENSIVE. That’s all there is to it. Look online, at church, at school, at the school you decide to go to… Everywhere. Trust me on this one. This is huge.

Spend time with your family. It’s so easy to get busy and wrapped up in college apps, class, homework, work, sports, spending time with friends, boys… Don’t forget that you’ll never really live at home again after this year. Tell your family you love them. Do little things with them. Do big things with them. Put your phone down and actually hang out. Be goofy. Make memories. The stronger your relationships are this year, the better your support system will be when you leave home.

Most of all, enjoy the senior things… but don’t get hung up on them. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have the exact same experiences as the person next to you. Go to homecoming, go to prom, be a part of all of the crazy shenanigans (I may or may not be referring to Senior Skip Day…). But do me a HUGE favor and don’t let the drama and the hype get to your brain. Just because you aren’t Homecoming Queen or you didn’t have the best game of your life on Senior Night doesn’t matter… 10 years from now you’ll remember the fun times, you won’t be stuck on those ridiculous details and how they simply “ruined senior year”. Because they didn’t. Not if you take the time to do things you enjoy!

And jo, remember that I love you to pieces and that I could not be more proud of you for everything you have accomplished. Remember that I’m just a phone call, text, Facetime, whatever away… I’ve been in your shoes. I know how much of a roller coaster this year will be. Full of really incredible highs and sucky lows. Love you to pieces… now go kick major butt!

2010 Senior

 

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