Ten Things I Want My Graduating Senior To Know

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Oh, kid. This is happening. It’s really happening. You’re graduating from high school this month and going off to live your life, and I have never been more proud of anyone or anything in my entire life.

Or more scared.

halle senior

You. You are the person I have done it all for. You are the person I would do it all again for a million times over.

There are some things I want you to know before you head out into your adult life. Honestly, there are so many, many things I am scared I forgot to tell you. 

But I know you’ll figure it out. That’s the first thing I want to tell you.

1. You can figure it out. Use context clues. Figure out the problem, and when the normal ways of solving whatever issue has arisen aren’t working, it’s okay to think outside of the box. Sometimes it gets you into trouble, though, so be careful. People love creative thinkers until they have to clean up the mess. Trust me, I know. 

Which leads me to this…

2. Trust your gut. And I do mean YOUR gut. I don’t know anybody or anything about who you are going to be around or who your friends will be, but what I do know is that you were raised with a good head on your shoulders and a well-trained gut. Listen to it. That funny feeling pulling you away from a situation? Listen to it. 

But and this is a really important one:

3. Don’t let fear control you. Take risks. I don’t mean like life-challenging risks or anything. But go out for that big part in the musical, or join a band. Do something crazy, something that you never would have done before. The crazy stuff isn’t always the best part of life, but it can get you there.

Which is why 

4. It’s okay to mess up. I want you to say that out loud when you really, really mess up. Because you are going to mess up. And it’s going to be huge and embarrassing, and you aren’t going to want to tell anyone. But you should. 

    And that’s so important. It’s okay to

    5. Ask for help. I don’t just mean from me, I mean it’s okay to ask for help from bosses, professors, friends, and just anyone you need help from. It’s okay to ask for help. I have trouble with this one, and I sometimes end up over my head. 

    That’s going to be hard for you, but

    6. You have to learn how to say no. And I don’t just mean in dating, although that’s super important— never do anything with anyone that you aren’t comfortable with. But I mean in life. If you don’t have to time, the energy or the want to do something, ask yourself how not doing it will impact your life. If the answer is, “not that much.” Then don’t do it. That’s totally okay.

    But take care of others

    7. Other people matter. I realize I am probably preaching to the choir here, because you are one of the kindest souls I know, but I know that sometimes we spend so much time telling you to focus on yourself, that we don’t acknowledge just how much you do for others or how important it is to you. Sometimes focusing on helping others is self-care too. 

    And be honest

    8. Honesty is so hard. It’s hard to tell the truth when you’re embarrassed or when it makes you look bad, or even just when you did something that was really terrible or awful. If you’re the problem, admit it. And then do something about it. 

    But don’t roll over

    9. You know exactly who you are, and that’s really freaking cool. It’s one of my favorite things about you, because, if I am being honest… I still have no idea who I am. So remember that. Remember that feeling, and don’t let people take your YOU from you. It’s super special, and it deserves to be protected. 

    Which, of course leads me to the most important thing I have to say.

    10. You are still my kid. I will always protect you. No matter what. I will protect you from the world, I will protect you from yourself. Just because you are living in a dorm room and not your bedroom doesn’t mean I don’t have your back. But it does mean that you’re going to have to tell me when you need me. I won’t be there to see it anymore. So talk to me. 

    I got you. Forever. 

    How do I end this? I don’t know. I could go on and on and on with a million other pieces of advice, but I promised you in the title I’d keep it to ten, so instead, let me just say this…

    I love you. More than anyone ever has or ever will.

    Be good, be safe, and be happy. You deserve it.

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