Senior year is weird because you still feel like a kid who is stuck in high school, yet you know that by the end of the year, you’ll be expected to know what you want to do with your life. The concept of “the rest of your life” is odd, too. What are you supposed to do with it? What is considered successful? What will people admire you for? What is the right thing to do? What if you never “make it”?
Don’t stress it. When I was a senior, I obsessed over getting the perfect GPA and competing with my friends to see who could do more and be better because that’s what colleges were looking for, and I somehow thought that being better than someone else at something gave me the confidence that I would turn out alright in life. I needed to go to the best school and go after my dreams because everyone expected that of me. And I did it because I wanted to reach those expectations, but I didn’t have to. The truth is that no one really cares what you do. The only person who is really examining your life, and the only person who has to live it, is you.
The idea of freedom is broad, but that’s exactly the point. After high school, you have freedom. Freedom to do what you want, whether that’s going to college, not going to college, working right away, traveling for a bit, or staying at home. Seniors get a lot of stress from everyone around them because they’re expected to know what they want in life and be prepared to execute their plans to achieve it. But the reality of life is that it doesn’t always work out as planned, so you have the complete freedom to do whatever you want, even if it isn’t part of the original plan.
There is so much to look forward to. Senior year is the year of growth! After all the stress of finals and sending in college applications is done, you have graduation to be excited about. And after graduation, you will have all the time in the world to figure out who you want to be. So in the meantime, live. Say “yes” to everything, spend more time exploring yourself, be around friends and family, try new things. These experiences will help you as you go on the journey of figuring out the rest of your life. Experiences will shape you, teach you, and make you appreciate all that life has to offer.
I promise you that you will figure it out one day, but you don’t have to rush it. You are a senior.
Enjoy what adolescence and growth bring, and be prepared to have everything change once you’re out of high school. Put your all into each and every school day for the rest of this year, and before you know it you’ll be walking the field and saying your last goodbye to Tustin High.
And remember, once a Tiller, always a Tiller, no matter how far you go.
A Tustin High Student Class of 2016
PS – Did you know that this letter was written by a journalism student at Tustin High? We have our own on-line magazine called “The Pitchfork” and a brand new digital zine that includes student art work and untold stories about students on campus.