Dear Class of 2018



It’s been 10 year. A decade since I was at my very own high school graduation.

For someone who is only 28 years old, a decade is a large portion of one’s life. However, the last 10 have been spent post high school graduation. More of my life has been shaped and defined in those past 10 years than the 18 prior. In that time, I’ve learned a thing or two. Most of what I’ve learned have come when I’ve fallen and failed. And I’ve done that a lot. A lot. A lot. I’ve changed jobs multiple times and cried because of one reason really: I was afraid of what people would think. Gosh, I wish I could take back those pointless tears. I now take photos of senior and LOVE hearing of their future plans. Seriously, it may be my favorite part of the session. Seniors, this is for you!

One of my jobs in the past 10 years, I taught high schoolers. In that time, I’ve wished I would have spoken more to them about life. Really invest in their future. Heck, I was really just starting to experience some life changes myself. Who was I to say anything? So, I am writing it now… for the class of 2018. (This also happens to be the year that my first group of students whom I taught are graduating from high school. They were only 8th graders when they were in my class. I love y’all still, and I’m so proud of each of you.)

Word to the wise.

Read the reviews.
Seriously, life is too short to sit through a bad movie, buy a bad book, or purchase an item that isn’t worth it. We live in the 21st century. While there a lot of negative things that come with that, one huge positive is reviews. (disclaimer: read the reviews with good  judgement. Some of my favorite recipes had bad reviews. Those bad review were written by bad cooks.)

Even if you may be a responsible person, you are now responsible.
You are going to go through the next 10 years saying may times over, “why on Earth did I not learn this in school.” Sadly, many life lesson are not even mentioned in public education. However, even if they were, to a high school student it is only hypothetical. It’s when you are actually experiencing these trials that the lessons are valued and respected the most. You are responsible for learning them.

How to do it: simply ask someone you trust on a topic you need help with. Someone you feel who has your best interest at heart. If you don’t have anyone, find a book on it and read it. I promise you, there is a book on any topic you are struggling with. Just read the reviews before purchasing in order to not waste time.

Be a filter not a sponge.
There’s a lot of noise out there. With everything you see and hear, filter it. Before you repeat something, ask yourself, “Am I certain this is true?” Do not just trust that it is fact and absorb it as so. Otherwise, you will be full of useless and worthless information.

How to do this: research. Ask a reliable source. Read your bible and find out (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve Google certain passages in the bible for clarity on a certain situation.)

Take care of yourself first not last.
I just learned how important this is this year and I’m still working on doing this. My friend, I’m sad of the time I lost not making myself a priority. I really started when I was in college. I put my studies before my health. When I became a wife, I put my husband first (even though he may not have realized it. I was trying so hard to be a good new wife that I was acutally making a bigger mess by trying to be so perfect.) When I became a mom, you guessed it. My son was put first.
You cannot give from an empty cup. Let me say that again for the people in the back, YOU CANNOT GIVE FROM AN EMPTY CUP! You must, must, must take the time to take care of yourself to be able to contribute the best way possible. If you are tired and running on nothing but Red Bull, how good of a friend are you? How good of a son or daughter are you? How good of a college student or employee are you?  Oh, so you’re grades are good because you’ve been up studying all hours of the night… but are you enjoying this time in your life? Guys, listen. College is a BLAST! (and I’m not talking about the trashy parties. Full disclosure: I only went to one.) Most of the professors you have are geniuses. Seriously, they are so wise and cool. Get to know them if you can. The people you get to meet are INCREDIBLE! I was first introduced to many cultures that were not present in my hometown while attending to college at the University of Texas at Arlington (outside of Dallas.) I learned so much from them. I also learned where the good restaurants were in my new town. But if you are neglecting your health by not eating properly and getting exercise (heck, just get some fresh air) then you are not going to be able to enjoy the experience to it full potential. There is time for sleep and studying in college.

How to do this: well, that varies for person to person. In in this season on my life, I recharge my batteries by being alone and reading a book. Find what relaxes you (that’s legal and non-addictive) and do it often.

College isn’t for everyone.
I said it. It’s simply not. I’ve watch people go into the work field after high school and they doing far better than some who have gone to college. That decision comes with some serious soul searching. What is it you love to do? Like, really. What is it that lights you soul on fire. Start there. Write it down. Is there a practical way to make money at that? No? Is there something close to it? For example, you enjoy deer hunting. That is what lights up your life. You live for deer season. Can you make a living at that? No. (Ok, maybe you can. I don’t really know. But for example sake, let’s say no.) What are the things you love about hunting? Being outdoors. List every reason you can think of why you like what you do. Is there a job you can do that would allow you to be outside a lot? Absolutely! You could be a game warren. Or work for a national park.  This is just an exercise to narrow down things a bit and get you thinking about your career choices if you simply do not know where to being.

Get a planner and use it.
Schedule off blocks of interrupted time to study or perfect your craft. Again, I said interrupted time. 3 hours of studying for physics exam is pretty worthless time spend if you have SnapChat open. If you enjoy reading, read 168 Hour: You Have More Time Than You Think.

And finally, don’t blame the education system, where you are from, or the raising you had. You are not a tree. You can move and change.
You can do ANYTHING you set your mind to AND work hard towards. Anything. If you are not the smartest person in the room, that’s ok. I have never been either. But I have been the hardest working.  I hear people from my hometown say things all the time like, “Well, I went to {insert my public high school here} and I don’t know a thing.” Well, if you are reading this right now, they did pretty good by you. Be thankful and go read and find out anything else you didn’t learn. You are now responsible for your future. No one else is at fault. I can’t spell worth a flip. Who’s fault is that? My own. I could easily try to improve that but I’ve made other things a priority. Therefore, I cannot blame anyone but the person in the mirror for my lack of stringing letters together correctly. For my ladies out there, I highly recommend reading “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis.
It’s hilarious. And while some of the things she mention may not apply to you (yet), like motherhood or being a wife, she drops some serious truth bombs that I wish I would have read when I was 18.

So, there you go. A little advice for someone who was in your seat 10 years ago. And the very, very best thing I want you to know; is the best is yet to come. When things seem hard, know that all of it is for a reason. You WILL get through this. You are strong. You are brave. You got this.

Congratulations, class of 2018!





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