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Dear Underclassmen,

You’re so excited to be a senior. Ready for prom, college, and getting out of high school. And who can blame you? You get to visit your dream schools, research your major, ready to leave your parents, and start to feel like an adult. We’ve all been there, when graduating looks a million miles away and you feel like you’ll never leave.

Senior year is amazing. It’s exhilarating. Half the time you’re excited to leave, and the other half, you’re not ready to face the real world. But at this point, you’re on top of the world.

But.

Senior year is bittersweet. And everyone says that, and you just shrug it off, because what do we know, right?

Let me tell you what it’s like.

Your last first day of school. The smells of new school supplies, back to school summer air, the building after having no one in it for 3 months, the carpet and computers, the people in the hallways. The chaos of passing blocks, the cafeteria laughter. Waving Hi to the administrators in the morning. Sitting in the auditorium. Debating about whether or not you really need to go to first block, because you really need to finish your homework. Never again.

This is what it feels like.

Your last high school sports game. Front rows of the student section all season long. Chanting, yelling, and face painting. Some nights it’s warm. Others, bitterly cold. Athletes on the field, court, track, or pool for the last time. Running or hitting, diving or swimming, catching or swinging, passing or shooting, hearing the crowd yell, shouting your teammates, shouting at you. Abs from laughing in the locker room, slipping your jersey on over your head, lacing up your shoes, getting on your uniform, squeezing into swimsuits. Pre-game lectures. You’ve never felt more pumped up in your life. Suddenly, your team loses and you realize now the court is empty, the field is dark, the pool is silent, the game is over. Never again.

This is what it feels like.

Your last winter break. Celebrating the holidays with your family, your friends. Who knows what you were talking about then, but from now on, it will be “how have you beens” and “what are you up to at *insert college here*” and “I missed you so much”. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted the loved ones less than a few steps away. Never again.

This is what it feels like.

Everything you’ve ever known. Chicken nuggets in the freezer. Chips in the pantry. Glasses in the cabinet next to the stove- the one you almost burnt the house down with when you were 8. The news channel your dad watches every night. The way your mom smiles when you get home from school. Quarreling with your siblings. Getting food on a whim with your best friend. Going on adventures to Chagrin Falls. Driving with your windows down on country roads. Jamming to your favorite song with your friends. Those people you only talk to in class. Falling into your bed after a night out. Laying in your room while you watch TV. Taking selfies with your dog. Knowing your way around, because this is where you’ve lived your whole life and as much as you want to get away from the high school drama, this is home. This is what you know. This is where you are. Never again.

Graduation day. The last time you will talk to 90% of the people you know. You’re all walking around in navy and white robes with squared off hats. You line up in pairs, you look at the person standing next to you, give them a smile, and walk out. Next thing you know you accept that piece of paper and all the people you laughed, cried, and grew up with are gone

This is what it feels like.

And now you’re alone in a very big world with a long, exciting life ahead of you and you have to face it head on, you’ll have to go out to find a career, make a resume, learn how to balance a check, take out a mortgage, and calculate student loans for college. Life is starting, a whole new chapter is opening, and you’re leaving everything behind you. Everything is being done for the last time because you’re about to start everything over again, and you swear that you remember your mom and dad tucking you into bed at night like it was yesterday. And are you sure you are eighteen? Because you don’t want to leave them but you know you have to and suddenly college move in day is here.

This is your life.

Senior year is full of wonder, unexpected surprises but before you go rushing through it, slow down and remember.

This is what it feels like.

Love,
A Senior
Original Letter by: Blair, McKenna. “Love, A Senior.” Wakeland Access, Wakeland High School, 18 May 2015, wakelandaccess.com/opinions/2015/05/18/love-a-senior-2/.
Edited by Trey Petrella, Kenston High School

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