From the Superintendent’s Desk
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
The start of a new year is always so exciting. New beginnings, New expectations, and New opportunities seem to flood the hallways of schools across America. However, each year at this time, I always seem to have a part of me that becomes melancholy when I begin to think about this semester being the last one for our seniors. I refer to it as the “Firsts of the Lasts.” For example, Tuesday, January 7, 2020 was the first day of school for our senior’s last semester. Every January, I have always tried to encourage our seniors to make the most of every school day that is left because they will “fly” by.
For my column this month, I want to share a writing, “An Open Letter to the High School Senior,” by one of our own Wilburton Alums. In her recent post, Marra Juarez-Davis, Class of 2017, shares her thoughts and advice to seniors about this time of their lives: A First of the Last. Thank you Marra for allowing me to share it!
Graduation is almost here. This is what you’ve waited your whole life for. Do you remember when you were younger, and it seemed like forever before you would be where you are now? Do you remember people telling you that these last few years of high school would fly by? Do you believe them now? I remember when it finally hit me. For some people, life after graduation can be a scary thing. Whether you are going to a small, community college, a big university, or going to work, it can be daunting. There is so much that life throws your way that I wish I knew before being immersed into the world of adulthood.
1. It is OKAY if you don’t know what you want to do in life! I thought I had it all figured out when I graduated. “I was going to Eastern to graduate with my Associates degree in Life Science, then I would be transferring to the University of South Alabama to obtain a degree in Marine Biology.” I had that memorized since I was a 5th grader. I got scuba certified, I snorkeled with Bull Sharks, I went to SEACAMP in San Diego, I went and toured the campus at the University of SA, and I even got the ACT score that I needed for the program. I had it all figured out. That was what I was going to do in life, or so I thought. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Part of that was true. I did, in fact, attend Eastern and graduate with my Associates degree in Life Science. But since my freshman year of college, I switched from Marine Biology to Radiography, then to Sonography, then Nuclear Medicine, and finally, we landed at Business Administration. I can only imagine my 10 and even 17-year-old self, looking at me now. But it turns out, I’m not too fond of researching seaweed, and I can scuba dive and swim with sharks without a degree. The moral of the story is your life will change more than you think.
2. Don’t rush these last few months. Don’t be so focused on your future that you miss out on the last semester of high school. Go to that ball game, go to the vocal and band concerts, go to the speech performances. Support your classmates. Teamwork isn’t just for your sport; it is for your class. Enjoy yourself.
3. You won’t see your friends as much as you think after graduation. Life has a funny way of making you grow up, quickly. With college, jobs, relationships, and other factors in life, comes little time for much else. If your friends are moving away for school or work, the communication is hard to keep up. Now, I’m not saying it is impossible, but it is difficult. Spend time with them now, and really cherish them while you still have them around. You still have time to make memories with them before you say goodbye.
4. Take your health seriously. Sorry, but adulting is hard. Stress and anxiety are getting more prevalent. Figure out a healthy routine and take control of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Find what works for you and don’t compromise.
5. Spend time with your family. Chances are this is a lot harder on them than it is you. For your parents, their baby is growing up and is about to embark on a journey that they can’t follow. If you are moving, I am sure that’s even harder for them. Make sure they know that you love them and really thank them for everything they have done for you. If you aren’t close to your parents, I’m sure there is someone in your life that this relates to. Maybe it is the parents of your friends, a teacher, or just an adult that took you under their wing. Someone is going to miss you when you leave.
This is an exciting time and there is so much to look forward to, but don’t wish away your senior year. My challenge for you is this: until graduating and until you enter into the lovely world of adulthood, plant both of your feet firmly in high school. Go to class, take your grades seriously, thank your teachers, but most importantly, have fun with your friends and your classmates. Graduation will be the last time that you are all together. Make the most of the time you have now. You will do great things.
Have a Happy and Blessed 2020.
“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.” Nathaniel Hawthorne