We all have those Seventeen Again moments where we wish we could relive high school and do it over, differently. Sure, we have high school reunions, years down the road, but that doesn’t let us fully relive the glory days of our adolescence or allow us to use life experience to make better choices. Commencing my senior year as a college student has already proven to be stressful, time consuming, and overall difficult both, mentally and physically. Although I’ve grown since leaving high school, I still face similar internal struggles. Experience, I’ve learned, doesn’t always ensure different outcomes. Even the best of student still makes same mistakes, but continues to grow from them.Today, I pencil this letter to my high school, senior self.
It’s finally senior year! Now, I know this is a super stressful year, with college apps, tests and decisions, decisions, decisions. Though, this final chapter in your high school year is an important one, I want to remind you that it’s not the end of the world if things don’t go exactly as you’ve planned. You need to remember that you can’t control everything, but you can set yourself up for success by taking care of you. When life hits you like a truck, it’s okay to break down and cry. And, it’s also okay to pick yourself up again, and embrace your mistakes, flaws and insecurities. Remember that you don’t have to explain yourself or apologize to anyone for expressing your emotions.
You’re experiencing senior year with some of your best friends. Soon you’ll part ways, going to different schools and pursuing different life paths. You may stop talking to people you considered your best friends, you may lose contact and feel like you’ve grown apart; that happens. You won’t always remain friends with people who were in your life at one point or another. Letting go can be painful, but you will also make new friends. You may also experience being alone for the first time. Not having anyone to confide in like you did in high school, which can be challenging. Some days you’ll be depressed, anxious and hate the world. Other days you’ll smile and compliment strangers just because, and that’s okay. Realize that sometimes you’ll have to learn to be alone, stand on your own and have no one but yourself.
Lastly, it’s okay to ask for help. I’ll say it again: IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP. Whether it’s a teacher, a counselor, professional help, whatever you need. You may feel like you can carry the weight of all your struggles, your family’s struggles, and school on your shoulders, but don’t be surprised when it all becomes too much. Talk to people, tell them if you need extra help, some time, or simply to talk to about what’s occurring in your life. No one is judging you for what you’re experiencing and they want to help. And if they are judging, fuck them…respectfully, of course.
Be proud of what you achieved. You’re setting yourself up for what you’ve worked so hard for. Maybe you didn’t accomplish all the things you would have liked, but you’re surviving and going to thrive. Keep going and don’t give up. Remember, you’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you.
A drained college student anxious, yet excited to graduate
(Photo courtesy Gary Knight via Flickr by CC 2.0 http://theladiesfinger.com/family-mental-health/)
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