Happy Saturday! I’ve been away from home since very early this morning, as I was attending my closest friend in NYC, Michelle’s, graduation. Today, she received her Master’s Degree from Fordham University. Congrats Michelle!
The graduation ceremony while long, was very inspiring with a great keynote speech by NBC News Anchor, Brian Williams.
All of this graduation talk got me thinking back to my own graduations. In my high school, the seniors on the newspaper staff got to write farewell columns in the final issue of the paper. Somehow, I still have the original column with me here in NYC!
It was supposed to be a high school version of the Sunscreen Song. For those of you not familiar with this song, I highly suggest you click on the link. I couldn’t resist sharing my high school senior farewell column to my blog readers, as it’s interesting to see how much I’ve changed, yet stayed the same (I can’t believe my high school reunion is this summer!!) So, without further ado, here is my senior farewell column (beware – it’s long ) circa 2001!
Deodorant Recommended: Senior Shares Advice Before Departing
For three years, I have eagerly opened the final issue of the Burke Beat to read the seniors’ farewell columns. I would feel excitement each year knowing that my turn would eventually come to say good-bye.
Then, I sat down to write my very own farewell column and stared at a blank page for hours. Frustrated, I began to ask myself exactly what I wanted to accomplish in my farewell column. I wanted to be able to say those words of wisdom that would stick in readers’ minds forever. However, how could I present words of wisdom when I am still a confused teenager?
I came to the conclusion that I had so many different things to say, I could not possibly complete the column without making a jumbled mess. Well, I wrote it anyway! What I completed ended up being a parody of the 1997 Chicago Tribunes columnist Mary Schmich’s column, “Advice like youth, probably just wasted on the young.” More familiarly, this column was transformed into the infamous “Sunscreen Song.”
Schmich wrote her advice column to demonstrate what she would have said if she had spoken at her graduation ceremony. However, I am not yet fit to give life advice to my graduating class because I have not yet made it in the real world. The following advice is for those little Bulldogs who still have one to three more years to go at Burke High School.
Here is what I have learned. After writing this, I think many people can benefit from writing their own “Sunscreen Song.” If you do not agree with my advice, I apologize, but thanks anyway for reading my column.
Ladies and Gentleman of the Class of 2002 (and 2003 and 2004):
If I could offer your one piece of advice for your future at Burke High School, deodorant would be it. The long-term benefits of deodorant’s protection against perspiration and embarrassment have been proven by scientists and teenagers as well. On the other hand, the rest of my advice has absolutely no proof other than through my unique experiences at Burke High School. I will present this advice to you now.
Enjoy your high school years and make the best of every situation and opportunity. Be thankful for the special friendships that you make and the unforgettable memories you create. Four years may seem like a long time when you are freshman, but before you know it, you’ll be walking up to the podium to receive your diploma wondering where the time has gone and wishing you could take it back.
Don’t spend every second of your high school days worrying about your life after high school. You are still a kid. You need to be prepared to the future, but that doesn’t mean that it is your responsibility to base every decision on it. Join a club because you’re interested in it and not because you think it will look good on a college resume
Understand that everyone (especially teenagers) has a different opinion. You may not agree with it, but you must respect it.
Don’t be afraid to get involved in March Madness. You may have no idea what you’re talking about, but in reality, no one does.
Instead of laughing at people who seem to be “too stressed out,” try to help them. And don’t tell them that you think they are crazy to stress out over homework. You’ll only make them feel worse.
Refrain from complaining about school lunch. In reality, it isn’t that bad. In fact, numerous college kids come back to Burke just to have one more beef cutlet.
Don’t start something if you don’t plan to finish.
Realize that the friendships you make in four years of high school are unlike any friendships you will ever experience again. Hold on to those friendships and be thankful for them. However, if these special friendships do slip away, only remember them fondly. No matter how a friendship ends, it’s important to understand what brought you and your friend together…not what split you apart.
Accept constructive criticism.
Don’t bother looking in a mirror and telling yourself that you’re ugly. Each time you do that, you are wasting precious seconds demeaning yourself for no reason.
Beauty really does shine from within.
Guys, understand that every action you make will probably be analyzed deeply by a girl. A simple glance in a girl’s direction may be interpreted as, “He wants to ask me out!”
Girls, understand that, contrary to popular belief, all guys are not jerks. Don’t bother analyzing every guy that you meet. Just get to know them and enjoy their company. It’s as simple as that.
Make mistakes, makes the same mistakes twice, by the third time, you need to rethink your actions and learn from your mistakes.
Keep a sweatshirt in your locker at all times.
Operate by the belief that inside every single person is a heart. This means that every person has feelings, every person cares about other people and every person hurts at times. With that in mind, you have no reason to tease anyone, so don’t.
Parents will get on your nerves and you will constantly say, “I can’t wait until I can go to college and have some freedom.” Say it as much as you want, but don’t complain if you go to college and can’t figure out how to do your laundry. Admit it, you need your parents and you are lucky to have them.
It is humanly impossible for one person to be cheerful all of the time, so learn to understand when someone is in a bad mood. We all deserve a little time to be selfish and unhappy. Guys, do not assume that a girl in a bad mood has PMS. It’s very annoying.
You cannot make everyone happy. A “People pleaser” will find himself constantly distressed in high school.
Learn the “Law of Personal Problems.” Every person, no matter how perfect he or she seems on the exterior, has problems. Do not expect your personal problems to be more important to other people than their own problems/
Scrub to school whenever you feel the need.
Figure out the one thing that makes you extremely happy early on. That way, whenever you go through a difficult time, you’ll always have that one thing to make you happy.
Top Gun is, and always will be considered, one of the best movies ever created.
Everyone complains, but spend a large portion of your time in high school complaining. You will look back later on in life and regret each and every one of your complaints.
If you can figure out who you are in high school, then you are one step ahead of the rest of the world.
Teachers hear everything!
When that time comes to apply to college, don’t hold back. If Stanford is your dream college, then apply. In a worst case scenario, you’ll lose $75. However, $75 is nothing in pursuit of a life-long dream.
It’s easy to slide through high school and be successful without putting much work into anything. However, if you do, you will never feel the satisfaction of knowing you have earned all of your success. This loss will make your success useless.
You will change in high school, and so will your friends. If these changes cause you to grow apart, accept it. Hopefully, in time, you will adjust to these changes and rejuvenate your friendship.
High school is the first time you experience the “rollercoaster of life.” Some days are up and some days are down. No one is immune from experiencing them both. Persevere through those tough times and enjoy the ride.
But trust me on the deodorant.
Hope you enjoyed reading my my senior column! It’s always fun to take a blast to the past! More later. But for now, we’re going to go enjoy some of these!
Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!