This is it. You guys are now down to your final year of either high school or college. Most of you are already beyond excited to get away as fast as you possibly can from your alma mater. However, I want you to take a moment and breathe because as exciting as the future after school plans are, you still have to undergo senior year. You still need to get that diploma. You still have to apply to several colleges or you have to start looking for work. Senior year is the most grueling and intense experience out of all the years. It's extremely difficult balancing the already overwhelming amount of schoolwork with your applications to jobs or universities. Sleep becomes something of a myth. Your social life goes to a staggering new low. Your sanity also starts to be questioned. Overall, survival will be quite a feat.
So instead of giving the standard message of telling you guys to just enjoy your senior year and all that jazz, I'm going to tell you something different. Senior year is when most reach their breaking point and what I'm going to tell you now are the words you will need during those times. These are the words you will cling on to at 3 in the morning when you're only halfway done with one paper and still have one more to do plus a quiz to study for. These are the words you will need when you are on the brink of giving up on your thesis. These are the words that you will need when you are trying to understand some impossible Math problem that you've been studying for hours. These are the words you will need when you're the only one doing the work for group papers and projects. These are the words you will need when sending out college applications. These are the words you will need when sending out job applications. These are the words you will need in the darkest of times this year, when you feel like all hope is lost. These words are the words that kept me up at night and pushed me to still get out of bed and finish the year. These are the words that you will continue telling yourself until you have to. These are the words "YOU CAN DO THIS" and if you work just a little more those words transform into the three simple and very powerful words: "I DID IT" come graduation day.
These are the words you will need in the darkest of times this year, when you feel like all hope is lost.
My advice to you seniors of all ages and schools is basically not to give up. You guys have been working so hard for so long to be where you are today. Don't quit when the finish line is already in sight. Don’t quit until that diploma is in your hand and your cap is in the air. I know that senior year is the time where you think you should party the hardest and have the most time to have fun. I disagree. This is the time where you should mentally, physically, and spirituality prepare yourself for your future. The real world isn’t as forgiving as school. In school if you fail, you can try again. Out there, second chances are very hard to come by and when they do it's not always the same as it was before. Work now and trust in me when I say it will pay off later. High school and college are when you should be growing most as a person, where you should be developing your skills and venturing off to figure out who you are and what you want to do in life. This is your last year to do so. There is always room for improvement even if you feel like there is none.
The big world out there is a very uncertain and terrifying place. So yes, cherish your last moments in high school and college but don't waste them. Use that last year very wisely to become the person you want to be when you leave. Leaving the place where you have grown to love and hate at the same time is a symbolic way of saying you're mature enough to leave. You're mature enough to go off to other places and grow even more. My dear incoming seniors, continue growing and don't ever give up. The dream is already in sight; you just have to push a little harder to reach it.