Before you leave high school
Written by our roving writer in Wellford, S.C.
Where has all the time gone? Your senior year of high school is bound to have been a whirlwind of stressful deadlines, important dates, nagging obligations and commitments, and exciting events. Now that graduation day is quickly approaching, you may feel a bit scattered and overwhelmed. What can you do now to prepare for the next chapter in your life? This quick checklist will help you feel comfortable about gaining some closure before venturing out of high school. Succumb to Tradition
Go to Your Prom! Even if it's not your thing or you don't have a date, go! Stay for hour or two and see what all the fuss is about. Believe it or not, most people I've spoken to who didn't attend their high school prom have admitted regretting it later. So why miss out on something you can never do again? Now is the time, if you can gather the courage, to ask that guy or girl you've had your eye on for a dance. Chances are you'll never see that person again, so make the most of this last opportunity.
Tie Up Loose Ends
During the last few weeks of high school, you'll want to make a point of saying goodbye to many people you may not see once you walk off campus. When signing yearbooks, be sure to leave an email address that you can bring with you to college. If you don't already have one, sign up for a free account that doesn't rely on your current service provider, such as Hotmail and Gmail. It's the best way to guarantee you'll have the account even when you move and will allow old friends to get in touch with you years down the road. While you're having your yearbook signed, try to get as many people to write in it as possible. Start early. Ask your favorite teachers, your guidance counselor, and other classmates to write something they remember about the last year. You will be spending time out of school with your closest friends, so let them write in your yearbook at home.
Resolve Old Issues
Remember your best friend from middle school? Maybe you had a falling out or you stopped talking to her when you made new friends in high school you. Perhaps you both just eventually went your separate ways. Now's the time to reestablish a connection, wish her the best of luck in the future, and say goodbye. You may not want to stay in touch, but you'll feel better knowing you made an attempt at healing old wounds.
Thank your teachers! Your teachers are as busy as you are during the last couple of weeks of school so it may not be feasible to visit them all. However, you can still drop a short note or a personal graduation postcard in their administrative box or leave it on their desks to thank them for something specific they've done for you, helped you accomplish, or inspired within you. Don't just think about your current teachers, either. Who was your favorite teacher during freshman year? Why? Share your reason with that teacher in a brief note. Remember, if you run out of time before graduation, teachers and administrators usually spend about a week post-school working on grades and breaking down their classrooms so you can stop by during that time to show your appreciation.
Take pictures. If your school allows you to take photographs during the last week of school, take advantage of getting group photos of your classmates, teachers, even administrators who helped you over the last 4 years. Don't just focus on your best friends. Take snapshots for posterity, ones that will allow you to laugh and remember the small details of your high school experience that you may otherwise forget: your locker, a busy day in the cafeteria, play practice after school. Random shots of everyday moments will be cherished years later.
Keep a Memory Box. Even if you are not leaving for college in the fall or have any plans at the present of moving out of your parents home, you need to scavenge through your bedroom now and look any concert tickets, school play brochures, well-written essays, the best novel you read during senior year, great photographs you've collected and stashed away under the bed. Check the pockets of your favorite jeans, rummage through your closet, scan through the backseat of your car. Put any items you find in a memory box, which for some may be a shoe box and for others may be a large storage container. You don't need to spend hours sorting through the trinkets and memorabilia right now; you'll have time to do that over the summer. For now, just start collecting. Another great idea to cherish these timeless memories would be to create a scrapbook! Get Prepared
Save important paperwork. It's tempting to throw away everything for a particular class at the end of the final exam, but you may regret it. Teachers distribute many helpful guides throughout the school year. Look through your binders, notebooks and book bags to determine which papers are worth keeping and may help you in college. College professors are much less likely to provide you with extensive tips and guidelines for writing an effective research paper or short tricks to complete word problems. Save these handouts and save your notes. Save all the essays and research papers you can find, especially those that contain valuable teacher feedback and corrections. Pack them safely away in a durable 3-ring binder before you start trashing your Senior year notebooks. This binder will provide you with a storehouse of information that can be easily carried with you to college. This is one of the most important things to do before you finish high school.
Now that you know what to do before you finish high school, it's time to get started. Graduation day is just around the corner and you want to feel confident that the last few weeks of your high school career are complete. While this important part of your life is nearly over, the memories you've shared wi