Some Advice from a Soon to be High School Graduate

With graduation looming, I reflect on the time I’ve had. There seems to be a concerted effort to build a specific culture amongst the students. I found that you either follow it or you are one of those kids. There’s a whole other world within those walls. There’s a certain nomenclature that seems to chase the followers of the cause. It populates the mind and builds up a wall for which even the strongest of people couldn’t break through. Being popular is something that is so cherished within these walls. I am glad I’ve drifted away from that motive. For a moment in time, I was a scrawny freshman who yearned to have it all. I saw the movies. I read the books. I saw the photos. I had an image that I wanted to become reality. The fashionable, handsome man, circulated with attractive women, driving around in the finest of locomotives. Oh, how I was ignorant. I wanted it all really. It is a hilarious image to me now. I literally drive around in a minivan. I don’t consider myself a knock out, good-looking guy. I am in no way, shape or form a “ladies’ man.” Nope, I am an awkward, lengthy, weird, film loving, writer, cheese enthusiast, Christian, kind of guy. You know what? That is fine with me, because that is me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Would it be awesome to be Brad Pitt, Chris Pratt, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Oscar winner Leo Dicaprio, of course it would. Those people aren’t me though.

In highschool you get caught up in a routine and in a certain mental state that it becomes difficult to grow. It becomes difficult to mature. For an incoming freshman, I would tell you to take advantage of every day. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. Lay down your pride, lay down your preconceptions, set aside judgement and come in with an open mind. Try to find your passion. Of course, not everyone can have their lives planned out in High School, life is spontaneous. It’s been said that the only constant in life is change. You can go from rags to riches in an instant. Don’t get caught up in the mantra that you have to be popular to mean anything in this world. Stats are seemingly important observing from the outside. Their reputation built from word of mouth, that circulates rumors, pride, cynical voices flow through the room.  Life is more than the stats. You can look at how many followers you have and sulk in loneliness. Not only do you feel hopeless, but you feel like you are unwanted. Build your name right. I would rather sign my own name. Even if my John Hancock isn’t pristine, it isn’t legible, it is unique. This signature is my own because I wrote it. Life is etching your name in the rushing waters down a crashing river. Life has many stages and you are inevitably going to feel lost at some point. Shoot a prayer up, find a friend, be a friend, make something, build something, read, write, play, be you. It is so easy to get caught up in the other stuff. Trust me, a luxuriant ride is waiting for you on the other side. It is a ride that cruises across the oceans and calls your name when you stop by. Life is about finding the right pair of socks and if you have an extra pair, passing it on to someone else.

Do not try to live your student life in a bubble. You will probably become a misanthrope who resides in his or her bedroom 24/7 and it won’t feel or look so great. Even if you don’t want to play a sport, or go to that party, find a buddy you can do hang out with. That brings me to a point, that I can’t move on without explaining. You don’t have to play a sport. Those jocks that walk around all tall, and broad, laughing and seemingly shading their judgement under their perfect brows and casting the criticism through their manipulative eyes. The beautiful cheerleader that you would love to just be able to talk to. Look, it just isn’t all that worth it. If you feel pressured to play a sport to get the girl, or to fit in. That action would be a futile commitment that would and can, take over your life.

So back to my other point. Have a good pal, you can hang on to. Most of the people you see in high school you will never see again. For the most part, though, people typically have that one friend that they still have. The human spirit is capable of so many moments. Even if you want to just play video games all summer, have a friend by your side. Even if you want to work out 24/7, you need a spot. Even if you want to go to the movies all day, watch it with a friend. Even if you love collecting cheese, find a friend. The last one is a little odd, but hey, if you’re into it, it is all great, because that’s you and you should hold on to it.

Don’t get caught up in the grades. Numbers, letters, assignments, they don’t define you. Yes, they are important, but that shouldn’t be your main focus in life. You should focus on improving yourself every day. Think of it this way; the school aspect of your life is that annoying part of an application, the standard, fill out your name, address, etc. The main focus should be the essay, because that separates you from the standardized categorization of society. You want to be unique. Laugh, smile, enjoy what you have and pursue what you want. Sometimes, it can seem like the flowing river convolutes, and gradually partakes in this rough eccentric being that catastrophically diminishes your spirit. It becomes a scary undertaking to even go out the front door. I can get caught up in the weight of the world sometimes, but you can’t do that. Yes, it is important to stay focused, but securely setting your sights on one piece of the picture is dangerous. You are in grave danger of missing something that is coming. This moment that you’re missing, is a prominent value to take a hold of. It is a piece of your life that you can plug into the equation. It is a variable that you’ve been missing. It’s a misunderstanding that you’ve  replaced with a mindless imaginative vision. Move your sights over.

One last thing. Show some love to your family. It doesn’t have to just be a blood relative. It can be anyone who has helped you along the way. I would like to also advise you to build a relationship with God, but that is a decision you have to make on your own terms. It’s something that is easy to say because I live in the south, but it is a tremendous beneficiary to build a relationship with Him.

There is plenty more, but I’ll save it for another post. Maybe I’ll wait until after I graduate and then a year after. Heck, I’ll write ten years later. See you then.

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