This was really fun to write. It turned into a rambling, sappy mess. But every word of it is something that I wish someone would have told me four years ago.
  1. It was only four years ago that I was sitting in those folding chairs in my high school gym, nervously awaiting for my name to be called, hoping I didn't trip while on stage. It seems like a lifetime ago, as cliché & overused as that sounds, but here goes.
  2. Soak up every minute with your friends this summer.
    No matter how close you were in high school, or how many secrets you shared during study hall, things won't be the same when you're not sharing every day with them. You'll promise to keep in touch & hang out all the time, but the natural progression of things will happen & eventually, they'll be someone you run into at a bar back home & while it won't be awkward, it won't be anything like you imagined either. You'll be totally different people.
  3. Thank your teachers.
    Especially the ones who pushed you to be better. It may have seemed like they were being mean or didn't care, but high school teachers CARE. I wish I could sit down with all of mine & tell them just how much I learned from them, aside from all of the math & history & Oxford comma stuff. They taught me patience and kindness and respect.
  4. Hug your parents.
    If you're lucky enough to have & be on good terms with your parents, then love them up this summer. They got you through the past 18 years - give them a few months of appreciation & unexpected hugs. Then call them TONS when you leave. This also applies to grandparents.
  5. Celebrate YOU.
    You made it. 18 years of homework & practice & skinned knees & embarrassing yourself in front of your crush. Almost two decades of favorite songs blaring through headphones shared with your best friend & laughing until there are tears & crying yourself to sleep. You are amazing. Remember to breathe deep & take lots of mental pictures & love yourself a hell of a lot. You made it.
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