WARNING: Sentimental blog ahead!
Seniors – as you read this, you are likely on the final downhill slide of your high school career. Hopefully, downhill slide does not include a slide in your attitude and work ethic toward school, activities, or anything else! But as these weeks fly by and you perform in your last concert, attend your last prom, go on your last field trip or maybe “organized senior skip day,” or compete in your final track or golf meet, it is also likely that you may be hit with a plethora of emotions.
In my years as a HS counselor, typically at the end of the senior year, even the students who had been the most “ready to be done with this place,” began feeling sentimental as they began turning in books and checking out for the final time with each teacher. I had many seniors over the years tell me they really were going to “miss this place,” and when I read the required Senior Surveys I had to collect and compile, it was obvious that most of them had formed quite an attachment to people in their high school lives.
It will be 40 years ago this May that I graduated from high school! (I know – that makes me old, but please don’t stop reading just because I’m old!) When that last bell rang, I still remember the odd, overwhelmingly sad/bittersweet wave of emotion that came over me. I realized I was done with a very huge chapter of my life, and although I was very excited about what was to come, I was also fearful. Would I be as successful in college as in high school? Would I make friends as dear to me as those I’d know for the past 13 years? Would I be ok living away from home? That last high school bell really hit me hard, and I know it hit many of my classmates the same way.
So, I guess what I want to say to you is this: Enjoy these last weeks with your classmates and your teachers/coaches/activity sponsors. Do your best to leave high school knowing you gave it your all and set a good example for others. If you feel sad – give yourself permission to feel it. If you want to cry – let yourself. If you feel giddy and excited one moment and close to tears the next – embrace it. If you are completely excited, good for you! Embrace that as well! Tell the people you will miss that you will miss them. If there was a special teacher or other adult at school who had a particularly positive impact on you, let them know! I guarantee they will cherish that piece of information forever! Most of all, I wish for you that you will be able to look back at your high school career and know that you made a positive impact on the school and the people around you. I hope that you will be proud of yourself and your classmates, and that you will always feel that pride in the coming years, when you hear about something good that students in your high school have accomplished. I hope that as you move forward to whatever chapter is next, you have many good memories of the people you spent time with and those who helped you learn. High school graduation is the end of a large piece of your story, but it is also the beginning of another chapter that will hopefully be even better! Enjoy these last days and weeks of high school! Happy Graduation!