358 days left… welcome to senior year.

One more year and I’ll be standing in the same spot with a cap and gown!

In 358 days, I’ll be walking across the stage at State Farm Stadium to graduate high school. To be completely honest, it’s really hard for me to think about. I’ve lived in my small(ish) town for about 15 years, and it’s hard to believe that I’m actually going to be moving on from here. In 358 days, I’ll be facing the culmination of 18 years of life, 7 schools, and waving goodbye to a place that has become a second home over the years.

Most of my friends will tell you I’m one of the first to say “Wow, I can’t wait for senior year and to go to college,” but I’m telling you, today, I’ve been lying to myself this entire time.

If I’m being honest, I’ve loved high school so far. It’s crazy difficult at times, but it’s taught me all sorts of things. I’ve formed bonds with people I’m now watching get married and pursue full-time careers. As much as I claim that I can’t wait to leave, I’m the kid that usually doesn’t leave school until 2 hours after classes end, and I’m always getting involved.

High school has definitely been a learning experience for me, but it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had thus far. I’ve made some of the most incredible friends, worked with the best teachers (especially in my junior year, I mean, wow), and collaborated on all sorts of things. It’s high school that’s given me the opportunity to be a jack-of-all-trades and try all sorts of new things. And seriously, when I say “all sorts” of new things, I really do mean that.

Without my time at school, I would’ve never written for 85086 Magazine, Her Campus, or joined show choir. I would’ve never met my crazy amazing group of friends, started serving at church, or went to camp and starting working with the YMCA. I would’ve never received my NATAS Award or been a recipient of 18 Under 18. Sure, maybe life would be a twinge easier without the intense course rigor I have chosen for myself year after year, but I think if my AP classes have taught me anything, they’ve taught me some pretty valuable life skills like time management, patience, and grace. Life really does change in an instant, and I’m so grateful that my high school experience provided me with all of these crazy opportunities.

As I move into senior year, I’m going to be wearing many hats. This year, I’m the President of Veterans Heritage Project, National Honor Society, and Broadway Bound. It’ll be a busier year than ever before, but that’s just the way I like it. I can’t wait to challenge myself and be a role model for three entirely different groups of kids. I’ll definitely be challenging my own leadership abilities, and I can’t wait to see what kinds of changes I can make and who will take my place in the year to come.

I plan on using this year to form new bonds, strengthen past relationships, and really pursue what I’m passionate about. I want to leave a lasting impact on my school and all of my underclassman friends, and even though I can’t wait for the next chapter in my life, I can’t wait to make this one the best one yet.

Here’s to the homestretch. 358 days left in my hometown, senior year, here I come.

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