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You Did It

An Honest Letter to Graduating Seniors

Congratulations! You survived the last four years of prison... *cough* I mean, high school! 

Today is the day that you walk across the stage to get a piece of paper that basically holds the last four years of your life. I mean, come on, you'd think you would get a little more than a piece of paper. Like maybe an all-expense paid trip to the tropics to relax for the first time in 1,460 days, or some cash. I mean I'd even settle for a candy bar, just something more than a piece of paper. I love it when people congratulate me on graduating and I'm just like, "Yeah I went through four years of hell, stress, and tears for this one, single, piece of tree... totally worth it." Just kidding. Actually I'm not because I definitely think I should be receiving more than a piece of paper, but it is very important to graduate and it's a day you will always remember. So let's just take a moment and reminisce the past four years of your life.

Today is the day; it's your first day as a freshman. Oh my god everyone is just like bigger than me. Is this the right classroom? Wait, was that the homeroom bell? Oh my god, I'm going to be late for homeroom! Wait, what do I have first period? How am I suppose to get there in three minutes? Did they even calculate walking speed of individuals? When's lunch? Wait, where's the cafeteria? Oh my god! Who am I going to sit with at lunch?... I'm sure those were all of your thoughts your first day of freshman year. I know they were definitely mine. The first day of my freshman year was the first day I set foot in a public school, and do you wanna know what fear is, because that my friend is downright scary. I knew a max of about two people. I remember my mom drove me to school that morning and I made her drive around the school four times until I finally got out of the car. The teachers outside monitoring probably thought we were getting lost in the parking lot or something. When I finally made it in the door, I literally wanted to cry. It was so stressful, I literally thought the day was never going to end. I remember I went home that day and told my parents that I wasn't going back. Until I went back the next day. I also remember this girl in my physical science class who was sitting behind me. She had purple hair and at this point in my life that was crazy and she scared me a little. Next thing I know the teacher says we have to find partners. Well, the purple haired girl asks me to be her partner, but I chickened out and said no. Funny thing is that she's actually my best friend now for the past four years. I don't really know how she puts up with my crazy ass but that's another story yet to come. Overall my freshman experience wasn't that bad. The school was basically two rectangles stacked on top of each other and the kids aren't actually that scary. Also on a side note, if someone has purple hair that freaks you out and they ask you to be their partner in a science project, just say yes and see what happens. 

Today is the day; it's the first day of your sophomore year. Only 1,095 days left until you can graduate. You have officially bumped up on the food chain. At this point, you can't really boss around all of the freshman because some of them might be your age. You're only starting to get slightly annoyed with them at this point because they don't know what side of the hall to walk on. FYI it's just like a road, duh. Sophomore year is kinda like the weird year because you aren't fresh meat but you're also not close enough to graduate like juniors, and you're also not top of the food chain. You're just kind of there at this point. So I don't have much to say about sophomore year.

Today is the day; it's the first day of your junior year. Only 730 days left until you can graduate. Finally, you only have one more year until you're officially on top of the food chain. I know you can't believe you've made it this far. Be prepared though, because junior year is a big year. This is the year you can be involved in the junior class play and this is the year your class is in charge of prom. So make it something different and unique. I swear if I go to another "Night Under the Stars" or "A Night in Paris" I'm going to barf. Like really, you have Pinterest. USE IT. This is also the year that you can be inducted into the National Honor Society, but this is also the year that academics hit you hard. The beginning of the year was nothing. Super easy, you blew right through it. Then the second semester hits, and there are some down for the count. Focus though, prom is coming. I need to prepare for this, it is my practice wedding, everything MUST be perfect. Prom night comes. You look gorgeous, you're excited to dance with your date, you walk into the gymnasium and see how great of a job your classmates and you did on the decorations. You're dancing to way too many country songs because the DJ sucks and you always have that awkward moment when the DJ plays two slow songs in a row but you're not actually dating your prom date so you don't know if you can handle two slow dances in a row so you just casually say you need to go to the bathroom until you end up sitting on the bathroom floor for half of prom because your dress weighs fifty pounds and the bathroom floor feels like Antarctica. Then you're ready for after prom because you're just ready to get out of your dress and take the million bobby pins out of your hair so your head can finally breathe. You return to the school a hour later and realize that your weeks worth of decorations was just torn down in thirty minutes by your parents who volunteered to work the after prom. So I mean that's fine, you didn't put blood, sweat, and tears into prom decorating or anything. Then the day finally rolls around when you're called to the guidance office to schedule for your senior classes. It finally hits you that you're going to be a senior next year and you can not be more excited!

Today is the day; your last first day of school. Wow, that didn't really sink in yet did it? I know you're so excited that in 180 days you will be graduating, how exciting is that? You walk down the hallways as if you run the place... Oh wait, you actually do. Freshman fear you, sophomores know you, and juniors envy you. The homecoming game is next Friday and you're so excited to go until you remember, this is the last homecoming. You attend the last pep rally you'll ever have the day of homecoming. You always hated pep rallies, until you realize this is it. Its now the end of fall sports. You realize that you're watching your last high school football game. You realize you're playing at your last soccer game or serving your last volleyball at the last match. You just scored your last point. Your school just won their last football game, the team and cheerleaders storm the field. This is awesome... then you realize, that's it. There won't be anymore high school football games. Winter comes and basketball season begins. Wrestlers are starving themselves or binge eating to get to their weight class. You attend the winter formal and dance the night away, but then you realize that was your last one. You cheer at your last basketball game and call your last cheer as captain. Senior night comes around and you think you won't cry until your teammates hand you the bouquet of flowers bawling because they'll miss you. Spring sports are starting and that means the year is coming to an end. You're graduating in less than two months. Prom is right around the corner. You and your date are in line for prom, walk in smiling and looking for your parents along the side. They call your name as you walk through the front doors. That was it. That's the last time you'll be announced going into prom. It's official, the countdown is only a month. The office calls you down for a senior meeting, and here is where you will be handed your cap and gown because Baccalaureate is this Sunday. This will be the first time you wear your cap and gown. This is where some of the feelings kick in. You're taking pictures with your friends together in your cap and gowns. You realize that in two weeks you'll be taking these pictures again, but this time it'll be the end. Class night rolls around and you'll have your last dinner as a class. You walk down the auditorium aisle and stand on stage as you're introduced with your activities and future plans. You walk to your seat and listen to the awards you and your classmates receive. You said you wouldn't cry but when some of the coaches give their speeches you can't help but shed a tear or two. This is it. There are five days until graduation. Five days until you leave your second home. Maybe you didn't like it very much sometimes but you have spent the majority of the last four years roaming these halls with these people. Some of the teachers you hated but some of them grew to become close to family. You'll say goodbye to your coaches and your favorite teachers. You'll clean out your locker for the fourth and final time. You'll walk out of school on your last day and say goodbye to all of your underclassman friends. You go home and get out your cap and gown from your closet because the day is coming. 

Today is the day. Today is graduation. You put on your cap and gown. You drive to the school and prepare yourself because you will not cry. You spent way too long on your makeup to cry. You all sit down in your assigned seats because the ceremony is about to begin. The valedictorian recites their speech which makes you tear up a little but you can manage to stop yourself. Oh my god what was that? They just called the first person up. You sit and cheer when every one of your best friends walk across the stage. You're so proud of them. The person in front of you is called up onto the stage. They walk up the stairs onto the stage and your stomach drops. That will be you in about sixty seconds. In sixty seconds, you're done. Everything you've accomplished in the past four years is over. You've completed this chapter in your life. No more football games, no more study dates at the local restaurant, no more awkward meetings with your crush in the hall, no more girls nights, no more high school parties even though we all know you were the good kid, and you never went to those parties, right? This is it. Say goodbye to your high school friends because as you look around, you realize that you will all part your ways. You probably won't see over half of them ever again. This is it. Your name is called. Your heart stops but you stand and walk toward the stage. You walk up each step carefully so you don't trip. You walk across the stage and look out to your family and friends. You smile and grab your diploma. You shake the hands and move your tassel. That was it. You and your classmates throw your caps in the air and now it's all over. You're done. Your underclassmen friends, your teachers, your coaches, your friends in your class, everyone wants a picture. The first person that comes up and asks just broke you. You burst out in tears because even if you hated high school, its over now. You're done and its time to move forward. Some of the most important years of your life have just closed and you can not repeat them, just look back at them. 

Class of 2019, please don't wish your high school years away because pretty soon this will be you. It doesn't hit you until your name is called, but once it does, there's no turning back. Cherish every high school memory. It's over in just a flash. So don't blink.

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