To a senior getting ready to go back to school

Dear senior,

Whew, you’re almost there! I remember how I felt as my senior year was starting. Just one more year, and by then I had figured out how things worked. If only I had known that much when I was a freshman. I was able to do more with my friends and relate to teachers on a different level. I felt like I was finally an adult … at least most of the time.

I remember the pressure, too. It seemed like every adult I knew … relatives, teachers, the guidance counselor, friends’ parents, neighbors … constantly asked what I was going to do next. Was I going to college? Where was I going? What did I want to study? Had I sent applications? Did I take my SAT? Have I looked into financial aid?

You probably get tired of answering those questions, but it isn’t just the fact you’re hearing them again and again … and again. You’re tired because you don’t want to answer them. Maybe you don’t know the answers. Maybe you’re a little afraid of the answers. Maybe you feel like you’re having to lie a little and pretend to be excited each time you say something about it, because you really don’t know what you want to do or where you want to go. Can’t you just enjoy being a senior? Does there have to be so much pressure from everyone?

It isn’t easy, and I’m not going to add to the chorus of voices constantly reminding you about what you know you need to do. But I do want to remind you about something important.

It’s this: you’re a senior now. It’s time to enjoy yourself and have some fun. It’s time to create great memories with your friends and do all those things you’ve wanted to do. Yeah, taking a leadership position in a school activity is important, but so is hanging out at a local coffee shop with your friends. Going out to movies, talking at the park until it’s dark, goofing off at the pool … now is the time to do all those things. I’m not suggesting you should neglect your schoolwork, but school doesn’t need to be a 24-hour thing in order for you to be successful.

Your friends are important to you, and they should be. But odds are good that you’ll be busy doing other things next year, so grab every moment together that you can while you’re all together. If you make an effort to strengthen those relationships today, you’re more likely to still be friends 5, 10, or 20 years from now. You want to look back at this time and all the fun you were having. I can promise that you’ll remember that day you spent together at Turkey Run State Park more than how well you both did on that Econ test.

Yes, you’re becoming an adult and you’re adding adult responsibilities. That doesn’t mean you have to stop acting like a kid. When you feel those pressures start to overwhelm you, grab a friend and have some fun. Listen to music. Watch ridiculous comedies. Read, draw … do whatever you enjoy doing. Have fun and enjoy those around you. And if you feel so much pressure that you can’t do that, or you don’t know how to start, come in and talk with one of us. We know how you feel … and we know how you can help yourself feel better.