As high schoolers eagerly await the final month, weeks, or days of school of the year, one group of students is particularly antsy—the graduating class of seniors. Whether their eagerness is to leave high school, to start a new chapter in their lives, or to go out with a newfound independence, either way, they know change is in the air. The senior class’s graduation ceremony will most likely be the last time all of your class is gathered together in the same place before a whirlwind of change steps in, so to prepare yourself for these final moments as a united class, here’s a few tips:
- Brace yourself
Be aware that as you approach high school graduation, you really are about to enter adulthood. After that graduation, you are no longer an active part of that high school community, strict authority, or that rigid high school class schedule; you are simply an alum. Don’t rely on your parents as much to take care of things you should be able to do on your own, and graduation is the perfect time to practice this. You be the one who orders your graduation cap and gown, who sends out your graduation announcements, who sets up your graduation party. These are all small steps into adulthood, but every little bit counts.
- Tie Up Loose Ends
Don’t graduate high school just to return to finish some unresolved issues. Make sure you turn in all your school text books, clean out your locker, and pay off all your fees before you graduate. Check that all your grades are finalized, and that those grades are scores you are happy with. Hopefully senioritis hasn’t hit your GPA too hard, and if so, don’t hesitate to talk with your teachers to see if you can raise an eyesore of a grade in a class. Finally, make sure, you have your cap and gown and other necessary items for your actual graduation.
- Don’t Linger in the Past
As heartbreaking as it is to leave old high school friends behind, don’t let this stunt your social growth for the future. Definitely keep in contact with your high school friends, but don’t let that hold you back from making new ones. Look forward to your future in college or wherever you’re headed next. If you are going to college, make an effort to meet new people who are going to your same college. Most colleges have groups on social media pages, like Facebook, that connect future students together. It’s better to enter college with a few new friends in the same boat as you, rather than a list of old ones you have to call in order to keep in contact with.
- Leave on Good Terms
Here’s the truth: most of the people in your high school, you will most likely never see again, and if you do, it will be on minimal occasions. So why leave on bad terms with people you typically haven’t gotten along with? Make an effort to make amends with school enemies because most likely this is your last chance, and why not step up and be the bigger person and bury the hatchet? Thank all the teachers and other mentors that have helped you reach where you are today. If you had certain teachers right recommendation letters, please write them a thank- you note, or at least stop by to tell them how grateful you are for their help. Most importantly, get the contact information from the people you want to keep in touch with. Prepare yourself to make an effort to actually keep the promise to you and to those people to really stay in contact with them. It will be hard sometimes to do so, but be a friend and they will do the same to you.
- Summer Plans
The next three months of summer are crucial for your transition from high school graduate to incoming college freshman. Don’t get so caught up in all the graduation events that you forget to plan your summer. Know how you will prepare for college. You might take a few courses online or at a local community college over the summer to knock out some classes before you enter college in the fall. Also, be smart and have a money plan. For most of us future college students, we will have to start paying for everything with our own money, if we haven’t already been doing so. Before you graduate, have a summer job lined up and be ready to work and work a lot to earn money to finance all your college endeavors. It may not be the most appealing idea to go from attending school 7 hours a day to working everyday for about the same time, but once college comes around, you and your parents will be happy that you have that extra spending money.
Sure, seniors are beginning to realize the dizzying reality of what graduation truly means: a step towards adulthood, independence, an ending. But don’t forget the fact that this is a great celebration! You made it four years through the crazy adventure of high school and now you are just a step away from getting that diploma! The future may be uncertain, but with a high school diploma to back us up, we know we can continue to take on the world in our stride.
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By Natalie Mayer, Saint Thomas Aquinas HS