We’ll start when you were a freshman, naive and afraid.
You entered your school on the first day with big hopes and even bigger fears. Even though orientation helped ease your worries about not finding your way around, you thought that any amount of preparation wouldn’t be enough to prepare you for the actual moment. You weren’t in middle school anymore, you were in the big leagues. You may have made some of your best friends freshman year, or maybe you met a few people who you only stuck with for a while. No matter how long they were at your side, they were your friends, and you were glad to have them. You adjusted to high school life and eventually learned the layout of your school. Each day became more and more mundane, as you navigated the hallways and spirit days, joining clubs that may have given you some of your best memories. It wasn’t long before the year was over and you thought that it truly wasn’t as hard as you’d thought it would be. This was the year you learned to be brave and try new things. And you were okay with the thought of returning in the fall.
Then, sophomore year came around.
Everyone was learning to drive and maybe you were, too. Either way, the idea of not having to be chauffeured around by your parents brought lots of excitement. This year, you began to expand upon your involvement, really finding your place in your school. If last year was adjusting to your new life, this year was discovering your purpose. And maybe you did. Maybe you participated a ton and met some good people through it. Maybe you went to some parties or failed some tests or even asked someone to homecoming. Not being a freshman had given you the courage to stand up and do what you wanted, and maybe you took advantage of that. After all, sophomore year was all about finding your place, and come June, you felt like you knew where you stood. Maybe there was some drama here and there, but you had solid footing. You learned to speak up and advocate for yourself, and maybe even drive. It was going to be a good summer, but you’d heard stories of what was to come when you returned in the fall, and you were a little bit intimidated.
You had to start looking at colleges, which freaked you out. You had finally found your place in this school and now you had to think about leaving. Nonetheless, college tours were a dream. You heard about residence halls and meal plans and thought that post-high school life might not be so bad. Maybe you fell in love with a school, or maybe you had to think it out and make lots of lists. Either way, this was the year of hard work. You were in six AP classes and juggled a varsity sport. You performed in the school musical and took the SATs. The pressure was packed on this year, and you didn’t know if you would make it out alive. There were all these expectations and values that you were meant to uphold, but there were also social pressures. If any divisions happened within your friend group, they happened this year. The pressure was at an all time high, but you worked harder than you ever have and you made it out alive. You learned how to manage your time this year, and also how to pull an all-nighter. By the time it was over, you were exhausted. You had one year left and you couldn’t wait.
But senior year wasn’t all you were told it was.
It started with a sense of excitement and nervous energy, as your submitted your college apps. You were at the top of the food chain now, and you felt like all of the drama from years past was pointless. Your high school career was a ticking time bomb and you were determined to make this year last. So maybe you studied super hard and made good grades, or maybe you spent time with your friends and soaked in every last moment. However you chose to spend this year, you ended up with a destination, and you realized that the future had come.
So now you’re here, and looking back on how fast these last four years have gone. Everyone says it, but it truly doesn’t hit you until the few fleeting moments you have left in your school. But let me tell you that this year, you have learned the most important tool that you’ll need going into college: patience. And not just for other people, but for yourself. Yes, going into college will be a new experience, but you must give yourself that time to adjust. You must let yourself become more acquainted with college life, just like you did in your first year of high school, and find your place. It may not be easy, but you must remember that your whole life has been leading up to this moment. All you’ve gone through and experienced has made you stronger and more mature, so that you could move on and move up.
So what are you waiting for? Only great things lie ahead.
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