Written by Tim Takechi
Here we are in February, the shortest month of the year. Next thing you know it will be March.
Then April. Then May. Then June.
Then summer. But for many high school seniors out there, they only have one thing on their minds:
High school graduation seemed so far away not too long ago. Only old people graduate from high school. I’m still a kid. I have time, right?
Well, that time is fast approaching. Are you prepared?
Teachers and parents will scare you about what comes next: finding a job, finding the right college for you, moving out on your own, and growing up into adulthood. You know, the usual.
But instead of worrying about the future, take a moment and think about the present. Look around you. Take a hard look at your friends, classmates, teachers, and everyone in between. In the not too distant future, these may be the last times you’ll ever see them. For some of you, that’s a good thing (you’ll never have to see that bully ever again!). For others, this can be depressing.
So here’s a recommendation to all you high school seniors out there: Read these important tips and try to follow them the best you can. You have to trust me on this. Seriously. You have no idea how many people live with regret because they took their high school years for granted.
Read on, my friends:
1. Go to at least one football game
You may not be a football fan, but that’s okay. Even if you’re the type of person who confuses the quarterback with the second baseman, going to at least one home football game is integral to participating in American culture.
Even if your team stinks, you will forever cherish the memories of seeing cheering fans, cute cheerleaders, and puny offensive linemen (who haven’t quite become “men” yet) all in one place.
2. Thank your teachers for all their hard work
Being a teacher is hard. They get all the blame when things go wrong and hardly any of the credit when things go right. They spend every ounce of their energy making sure kids learn the skills they need to succeed in life.
Thanking them doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. Just go up to each one of them, shake their hand, look them in the eye, and thank them for all their hard work. I guarantee you will make their day.
3. Go to at least one school dance
There’s a surprising amount of value in going to a school dance. Yes, it can be the most awkward experience of your life, but they are well worth it.
Don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend? No problem. Just ask your closest friend. Or go in a group. That’s fine.
What if it ends up being the most awkward experience of my life? Trust me; you will appreciate it years from now. It’s awkwardness like having to slow dance with someone who has no idea how to slow dance that makes life worth living.
4. See at least one school play
Most high schools have a drama department. If yours doesn’t, find one that does. Take the time to see what play or musical your school is doing. Watch carefully, even if it’s painful.
Think about this: one day that acne-faced kid may grow up to be the next Brad Pitt. That stiff looking chorus girl standing in the back may some day blossom into a highly successful Broadway star.
Every superstar has to start somewhere. Why not at your school?
5. Take the time to have a deep and meaningful conversation with your close friends
This one you should take very seriously. After high school, we all go our separate ways. Many go to college. Others will start working. Some will join the military. Many of your classmates will move and scatter across the world. Others may be content to live locally.
Regardless, it is a fact that this may be the last time you will ever see some of your friends. Even your close friends. Talk to any adult and they will tell you that they have at least one close friend from high school that they have lost all contact with. Even with Facebook, it’s easy to forget your old friends when you’re busy making new ones.
So, please take the time and have a deep and meaningful conversation with every single one of your close friends.
Don’t talk while playing video games or watching TV. Turn off your cell phone. Don’t text. Just sit down and have a personal one-on-one conversation. Do it over coffee or lunch. Make it important.
Talk about everything you can possibly think of: your dreams, aspirations, fears, plans for the future, philosophical views on life, career outlooks, opinions on everything (politics, race, religion, sex, current affairs, etc.), but most importantly, tell them you love them.
Even if you plan to be with your friends forever, life has a way of making alternate plans. There are friends that you will no doubt keep in touch with. Others will slip away.
Take the time to get to know them on levels that you don’t already. You will find your relationship strengthened in ways you couldn’t imagine.
Whew. That’s all I can think of. Feel free to add any items to this list you see fit. I’m sure there are more things you can do before Commencement gets here.
But do these five things before you graduate. I wish I had.