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To: High School Seniors Nearing Graduation From: A Rising College Junior

This post is from my 2017 archives, however, as a rising upperclassman in college, I want to revisit this topic and update it as I have even more to speak on. If you're interested in reading the original post, click HERE

Dear High School Seniors Nearing Graduation, 

Do you believe people now when they told you not to blink because high school would fly by? I was in the same boat as you just two years ago. I was ready to get out and be done and was convinced I would never think "gosh, I miss high school" but as a rising college junior, I can tell you that there have been dozens of times when I've sat and reminisced about my time in high school. 

As graduation draws nearer and nearer, I'm sure the excitement and anticipation for the next chapter of your life to begin are growing with each passing hour. But don't be so quick to turn the page and close this chapter of your life. Yes, the next chapter you're about to enter is full of new chances, new opportunities and thousands of new memories waiting to be made, but you're going to miss this one, too. 

Friday night football games, homecoming, and prom are now behind you. As are the nights of staying up late finalizing that college essay or eagerly checking your email for updates on your college decisions. 

I hope you've found a school that you're excited to attend and I hope that you take an extra minute to thank your teachers for helping get you to the place you are today. I hope you beam ear to ear when you wear the shirt from your future school and that you feel as though you could ramble on and on for hours about how much you love it. If college isn't where your path is leading you, I hope you're eager to dive into whatever this next chapter of life holds for you. 

I hope that when you hold your graduation gown and cap that you realize that all of those late nights, early mornings, review sessions and quizlets have earned you these. You've worked so hard to get to where you are and I hope you will have the same drive and ambition when you step foot onto your college campus or wherever you find yourself after graduation.

If your graduation day is anything like mine, it's bound to be a rollercoaster of emotions. From the extreme high of putting your cap on and zipping up your gown, to the strange moment when you see all of your classmates and best friends lined up in alphabetical order all in matching attire and realizing that after today, you may never see some of these people again. To the overwhelmingly proud moment when you hear your name read as you walk across that stage and shake the hands of your school faculty and accept that diploma. To the moment when your hands are shaking from pure excitement as you move your tassel from the right side to the left side of your cap. Looking up and seeing hundreds of caps flying through the air and finally being able to call yourself an alumna of your former high school. Hugging your best friends after the ceremony and realizing that you are no longer classmates nor are you students at the same school anymore. Your graduation day is one you are sure to never forget, please enjoy every minute of it.

Things will be different after that day, as you watch this chapter of your life come to an end and begin to walk through the first pages of the next, I have three pieces of advice for you. 

- Take lots of pictures. Not only are you going to want them to cover the chipped paint on your dorm room walls (sorry, it's the truth) but you're going to want them to remember the moments and people that shaped you into the person you are today. 

- Save your money. You can either spend that newly acquired graduation money on things now, or you can save it and treat yourself to that pizza that you and your roommate will order when you're just too lazy to walk to the student union for dinner. 

- Spend time with your family. Whether you're going to school down the road or across the country, skip that movie with your friends to stay home with your parents one weekend, or try to learn how to play X-Box with your little brother even if you're a lost cause like I am, because, in a few short months, you won't be living in the same place as them anymore. 

Congratulations on your graduation, I hope you cherish those last four years of your life forever, and may the next chapter of your life be more than you could ever dream about.

a (nostalgic) rising college junior.

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