This letter will either be cathartic or costive. I want to articulate the future as vividly as possible, but also honestly. Things are not as we envisioned. The journey took quite a few side streets and wild turns. Where do I begin?
Spoiler alerts ahead.
We finish off our high school career strong. You’ll find a graduation outfit in the nick of time but look early. You’ll thank me later. Senior year is a breeze. It is a fun time and you need to enjoy every day of it.
Senior Skip Day is crazy there needs to be documentation of it somewhere. The fire alarm was pulled, the police were called for a bomb threat and we all had ditched school. The amount of exhilaration and fear about the police scouring the city to find the missing students is unparalleled.
Graduation week flies by, so try to take pictures with more people. You won’t see some of your classmates after this date. Some friendships become kaput, others periodic, but the people you are closest to will remain your close friends through adulthood.
Now let’s assuage some of you post high school worries. Don’t worry about retaking the ACT, the score is fine and it’s good enough to get you into your first, second and third choice schools. Read the entire textbook and take some practice tests for the AP exams. I know you’ll only take them to exempt from taking finals but passing can help you out in the long run.
I really want to emphasize: Enjoy your final year of high school. Adulting is tough at times and the innocent of childhood (yes, you are still a child) is irreplaceable. You’ll never get these times back.
Life takes some crazy turns after high school. The original college you choose isn’t the place for you. You’ll live with the world’s worst roommates and wish you were home being annoyed by your family. I could argue that the experience builds character, but you can build it staying at a dorm in-state.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, I know. You’re so happy to be in a new place. Our family is so proud. They’ll be just as proud if you stay. The happiness surrounds you going to college, not so much location.
College isn’t as difficult as our high school teachers make it seem. There’s not an unbearable amount of homework nor quantum-physics-level tests. Prepare for a lot of lecturing. Some lecturers are very boring, but you’ll push through it.
These types of classes are usually general education courses and will only encompass the first half of your college life. The best part of college is the freedom between classes. There’s no longer a set 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. schedule where you go to eight classes and lunch.
Now there’s a class here, nap there and then another class. Naps are plentiful, you’ll take many. That is if you stay in-state, go out and your naps will be interrupted by your annoying roommate’s incessant guitar playing.
Don’t let the perils of life keep you down. There’s a time when you do a lot of self-reflecting and self-seeking. It gets deep. Keep pushing.
Once you figure things out you’ll need to set up an action plan and execute it. No pressure, but it needs to be done. That bad procrastination habit you have, you’ll improve on it tremendously. It still needs help in some areas, but overall you really get on top of things.
Work-wise you’ll love Toys ‘R’ Us. Spoiler: they don’t make it past your college years. Nevertheless, it’s a fun job during a happy season. The customers are nice and your coworkers, some of which are your fellow graduates, are really cool.
After that it gets bad, then really bad and then the worst. Entry-level work isn’t always fun and people aren’t always nice. So, don’t let Toys ‘R’ Us become your golden standard for prospective employment. It’s more of an outlier. Things get better on that front as you go through the workforce.
You’ll also learn the life motif of sacrifice. Sacrifice becomes a large part of your life as you matriculate through school. Working and going to school and balancing a social life requires a great amount of sacrifice. Sometimes you aren’t going to be able to go out, naps become less prevalent and school becomes the most important thing in your life.
The last thing I want to leave you with is the most important lesson I learned.
Don’t allow anyone or anything deter you from your path.
You will face a lot of obstacles. Things like life choices and malignant management will try to break you and keep you down. Always stand your ground and stay true to yourself.
I would love to tell you certain specifics that would truly change your life, but the whole kill a butterfly, destroy the future thing is looming. All in all, no matter what choices you make, you’ll become a fine young man.