An open letter to all second semester seniors
January 28, 2016
It’s a strange feeling when the moment you have been waiting four years for arrives and it is not what you expected it to be.
I am highly certain that the words, “I can’t wait for second semester” came out of my mouth more times than I have failed a Vargas quiz this year but now that second semester is finally here, the passing of time is made much clearer. I thought I would be overwhelmed with joy and ready to speed up the rest of the year and while I am happy, I’m also admittedly, a little sad. Four years of high school have flown by. At the start of the year, graduation seemed like a milestone that we would reach someday but not soon enough to feel real but now with a date set in stone, that finish line feels uncomfortably close.
Less than four months. That is all that remains of an experience four years in the making. Four more months of after-school club meetings, lunches in the Pawvillion, AP classes and hearing Mrs. Valero’s familiar voice on the announcements every day.
It’s weird to be in such a solid limbo with one foot in high school and the other in college but for the next four months, pick a side. Place both feet in high school and soak up every moment you have left. I am not going to lie, I’ve claimed to come down with a serious case of senioritis dozens of times and counted down the days until I could use that excuse during second semester. This halfway point of the last year of grade school holds the best memories and provides a great excuse to act like you just don’t care anymore. While these last few months will probably be some of the most exciting times of your life, they will also come with sadness, stress and emotions.
After graduation, everything changes. For once, stop trying to rush everything and just be. Take a break from your graduation countdown. There will be days when you wish graduation were tomorrow but look around you and see what you’ll be letting go of.
Thank your teachers, even the ones you think you hate. You may be under the impression that you have to put up with them but remember that they also have to put up with you. Don’t make them despise the term senioritis more than they already do. If there’s anything I have learned about teachers, it’s that you miss their annoying quirks when you don’t have them anymore. Laugh at their ridiculously corny jokes and try to seem interested when they drone on about something they feel passionate about (even if you couldn’t care less). You’ll feel grateful for all the work they made you do when you’re in your first college class. Chances are that your college professors won’t invest the same amount of time and energy in your life.
Try to remember the feeling you had when you knew that you had found the right sport, club or activity. Remember the long work nights, practices and rehearsals you spent bonding with a group who would become your second family. Give your activities your all until the end. You remain a role model to the underclassmen who you will pass your legacy down to. When the second semester laziness hits you, don’t skip out on practices or meetings. As hard as it is to find the energy to run laps or stay after school, you’ll thank me when you’re sitting in the campus library without a creative outlet or your teammates to share inside jokes with.
In the midst of going to parties and senior events with your friends, make time for your parents. The second semester is full of activities and a much lighter workload which makes it easy to find yourself home less and out more. As annoying as your parents’ intrusive questions may seem, take the time to answer them for once. They never gave up on raising you, no matter how many times you rolled your eyes or yelled at them. You’ll soon find that daily FaceTime calls can’t compare to a hug from your mom when you’re having a bad day, so when she asks you to go to lunch with her, say yes. We often forget that while we can’t stop talking about leaving home, our parents will be left to face our empty rooms and let go of the children they’ve seen every day for the last eighteen years. Whether you’re the first, middle or last kid in your family to go to college, it’ll always be hard for them to say goodbye to their baby.
As scary and unimaginable as it sounds, you may not be friends with the same people next year. I know we hear that from people all the time but I think everyone nurses some kind of small hope that they’ll be the exception. And maybe you will be, but for now you have four months left of being in the same school as your friends. Don’t underestimate the value of being hallways away from your best friend when you need to tell them what crazy thing the person next to you just did or when you forgot your English book and need it next period. At some point between now and June 2, find a moment to thank your friends. They’ve made you the person you are today. Thank them for being there through all of your mistakes, for picking you up when you don’t have a ride, for going to your games and for always having your back. You have to appreciate the fact that someone was actually willing to listen to your pointless complaints and still want to remain friends with you. They do it because they love you. Don’t waste time fighting over meaningless issues. You’ll regret it when you’re no longer a five minute drive away from all of your friends. Make the most of senior picnic, spring break, Grad Bash and prom because they’re all that’s left. Avoid drama over bus lists and prom dates because in a year, it won’t matter.
Take second semester one day at a time. No matter how much you claim you hate Palmetto or high school in general, don’t wish away the end of your senior year. Go to every school event, even if you’ve never been to a lacrosse game or a musical before. Talk to the people you have always wanted to get to know and don’t be held back by trying to impress others. Take pictures with your friends at school because you will look at them when you’re lonely in your dorm, miles away from them. Buy your yearbook. No, that’s not a shameless promotion on behalf of the yearbook staff; you will be surprised at how fast some memories fade.
Ultimately, live every day to the fullest, despite how cheesy that sounds because your life will never be the same as it is now and that is a scary thought. Yes, in four months you will never have to take another Schoology quiz or ask for permission to use the restroom but you will also have to say goodbye to the friends you have known your entire life and the people you have sat next to for four years. You will attend your last game and sit at the Pawvillion for the last time. Enjoy second semester for all it’s worth – before you know it you’ll be walking across the stage and this will all just be a memory.