Senioritis: An Honest Report from the Trenches, Part X

May 14, 2016: Snippets for Seniors

Since I’ve GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL WHOOP WHOOP, here’s the conclusion to my Senioritis series: just ten tips to help out incoming seniors.

  1. Believe. In yourself, in better days down the road, in a bigger story than what you can see here and now. In a world of cynicism, hope.
  2. Say the things that are on your heart, even if they sound weird or clingy or you just send them in a quick text. Let people know that you appreciate them. Write people a note that tells them how much they rock. Encourage people that their hard days are going to be over soon. Your words matter so much, so use them to build others up. Even if you cringe as the clumsy syllables make their way out of your mouth, making someone feel better about themselves will give you so much.
  3. Sometimes, the best advice is no advice at all. Your loved ones will face rejection letters, tough goodbyes, stressful nights, and other situations that you have no power in. No matter how much you will want to, you won’t be able to fix it. Instead, offer a hug and an “I’m sorry.” Hearing someone acknowledge the suckiness of your situation feels so much better than trying to improve it with an “at least…”
  4. You will never regret a moment you spend hugging your mama.
  5. Let go of everything you’ve thought about the people in your life and your relationships with them before this year. Give people room to surprise you, and they will. People you judged before will turn out to be kind and funny and good to/for you. Some of the best friendships are the ones you least expect.
  6. Invest in some waterproof mascara. Not doing so is probably one of my greatest regrets about senior year.
  7. a) If you didn’t see my last post, go check it out. I strongly recommend making some sort of senior year/before graduation bucket list. You might get out of your comfort zone, you might experience some failure, you might not complete everything. But if you try, you’ll end up doing things you’ve always wanted to do. And if you’ve always wanted to do them, why not?
    b) Say yes. Throughout the year, I did a good job of saying yes in some seasons, and a meh job of saying yes in other seasons. Say yes to graduation parties, even when you have four in the same day. Say yes to group chats with your weirdo friends. Say yes to conversations with the kid no one else talks to. Say yes to events you’re not sure you should try. Just do the things. You’ll have fun, go on adventures, and meet good people. Life is great; go live it.
  8. Be where your feet are. I’m stealing this from Hannah Brencher, but it’s so important as the senioritis really starts to kick in. You will want to graduate and move into your dorm and start college classes and make new friends at some point well before graduation. You’ll use the phrase “so done” to describe how you feel about high school about a bajillion times. As real as the senioritis is (and trust me, it’s real), try to stay present and rooted. Love on the people around you while you’ve still got them. Pass your classes. Participate in cheesy senior traditions. You’re still in high school until you get that diploma, so make the most of it while it lasts. “Stop waiting for Fridays, and stop waiting for summers, and stop waiting for someone to fall in love with you, because those things will happen. But in the meantime, enjoy right now.” -Lucy Sutcliffe
  9. Forgive yourself and know your worth. You are so much more valuable than the colleges that you get into or don’t get into. You are better than your scholarship or lack thereof. You are not defined by your friends’ successes or failures. Who you are is good enough. Senior year is full of feedback–acceptance letters, rejection letters, comparison to peers, opinions of well-meaning adults. Stay rooted in who you are no matter what that feedback tells you. You are a treasure who is so needed in this world, and nothing you accomplish or don’t will change that. You are loved, you are awesome, you have a purpose. Remember that, please.
  10. You can do this.

Senioritis: An Honest Report from the Trenches, Part IX

May 14, 2016: The Bucket List

In Part VII of Senioritis, I shared a bucket list for the 99 days leading up to graduation. It had such items as hiking, leaving love letters at Target, eating at Holy Taco. Throughout the spring, my family, friends, and I got to go on adventures. We had bomb queso, took a cool time lapse while freezing our butts off, found tiny doors on a giant trail filled with artwork. I could write about our successful bucket list fun. I could make a cute photo slideshow of all the pictures we took. But really, it’s time to come clean, since I graduated this morning: I did not complete this bucket list. 

We only conquered two-thirds of the items I wrote down back in February. Life got in the way, I guess. I was busy with softball and AP classes and deciding on a college. 99 days and we only did six things? It seems like a letdown… but honestly, I am nothing but grateful.

Because of the graduation bucket list, my family, friends, and I got to do things we wouldn’t have done otherwise. We spent good, quality time together. We laughed a lot. We went out and lived what we could have just experienced through a screen or Snapchat story. I’m proud that those bucket list days and nights were just a small part of the final countdown of my senior year. I learned to just go out and do. Like my favorite Jonsi song: go do.

But even more than that, I’m proud of how okay I am with not checking everything off on this list. I am a list person. I like charts, organization, and crossing things off. I like checks in boxes and neat bows on wrapping. I like to have every last duck in a perfect row. And that’s definitely not what happened with this bucket list. We forgot to go to Waffle House after we visited Jackson Street Bridge. We never made it up a mountain. If we were being graded for completion, we would make a 67%, which is a failing grade. But I pre-decided to not let my graduation bucket list make me freak out like I often do before big events, fretting about everything I wanted to get done, worrying that I can’t cross all my color-coded tasks out with my Sharpie pen, more concerned with accomplishing everything than doing it well. Instead, this time, just this once, I wanted to focus on the fun.

And it was fun. Even if it wasn’t complete, it was fun. I couldn’t be more thankful for that lesson: It’s okay for life to be messy and imperfect. It’s still a whole lot of beautiful. My graduation bucket list taught me that the adventure in life is worth so much more than what you’ve got on paper. You can have imperfect fun. And I think it’s even more fun than “perfect” fun.

I’m going to come back at the end of the summer with a bucket-list-related challenge for y’all. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty stoked about it. Please, stay tuned, but for now: go do. Go out and live your life and do whatever you need to do to make this summer the best summer ever. Paint your nails and get your confidence on. Call someone out of the blue. Do that thing that’s been right around the corner for months, but that you’ve never made time to experience. Try lots of queso. Please, go do. I’ll see you soon.