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Student Blog: Words of Wisdom to the High School Class of 2021

As Miley Cyrus once said: “Life’s a climb. But the view is great.”

Student Blog: Words of Wisdom to the High School Class of 2021

I remember two years ago when I had finally gotten all of my college decisions back and was finishing up my senior year of high school. It was a surreal experience and it felt as if everything was happening so quickly. I sometimes forgot to truly cherish what was right in front of me. I was overwhelmed and nervous about what the future would hold. I was stressed out with finishing up college auditions, getting acceptances and rejections, deciding where I would enroll for college, passing my AP and AICE tests, performing in my Senior Year school musical, preparing for the annual dance recital, and much more. Life went by so fast and it feels like I blinked and am now a sophomore in college!

There is so much that I wish I could have told my younger self. Things that I have learned in the past few years and that I know about now. Things that would have maybe helped to ease any stress or concerns that were on my mind; things to make me slow down and not take anything for granted. I would have told young Jaclyn to take it one day at a time. To trust her talents and trust that she would end up where she is meant to be. That all of her hard work would pay off. I would tell her to be more spontaneous and take advantage of all of the opportunities in front of her. To let loose and have fun before it was time to grow up and move 1,200 miles away from home. To remain hopeful about the future and stay positive, even when the college rejections were getting me down.

I know that the current high school senior class is going through a crazy and stressful time right now. It is not easy to decide where to go to college, handle rejections, celebrate acceptances and take care of busy school and social schedules. On top of that, it is certainly not easy doing all of this in the middle of a pandemic. It can be stressful trying to determine what the future holds and constantly wondering what will happen next. I've been there. You are not alone and your feelings are 100% valid! Never forget that.

I came across a tweet from Lesli Margherita the other day, in regards to how she handles rejection, that said: "What is for you will not pass you." I love this statement primarily because it is a great reminder that everything happens for a reason and that you will end up where you are meant to be. Life can be challenging at times and will throw in many twists and turns, but you will get what you need in the end.

I don't have all of the answers, I'm only a sophomore in college! I am still learning and growing with each and every day that passes me by. Although the path of a theatre major may be similar in certain aspects, my journey is individual to me and different from everyone else's. I wanted to provide more perspectives and views from other current college students. I decided to ask some of my classmates, peers, and friends what advice they would give to their high school senior selves, now that they have had experience in college. I am keeping their names anonymous for the sake of privacy, but they are all students who have been through the process of leaving high school and starting a new adventure in college or the real world! There is no right path or way to do things. Everyone is on a different path, so don't compare your journey to anyone else's! I have compiled a huge list of some of their answers, so feel free to take what you want and leave what you don't!

-"Don't burn yourself out. Take time right now to prioritize your mental health."

-"It's okay to break the rules sometimes."

-"It'll all work out, even if it isn't the way you originally hoped for."

-"You have time!"

-"Remember to be body positive! Love yourself!"

-"Put your health above all."

-"Believe in yourself and your abilities."

-"Remember that your path isn't 'less than' anyone else's."

-"Stop trying to "fit in". You're your own person, not somebody else."

-"Trust yourself more! You know your limits and when to push yourself better than anyone else."

-"Enjoy the time while you have it. There's no going back!"

-"Don't overextend yourself! Try what sounds fun but make sure you make time for you."

-"Follow your gut, it will lead you not necessarily where you want to be right now, but where you need to be in the future."

-"College is so much different but don't be afraid to embrace the change!"

-"Savor every moment- be okay with change- be hopeful for the future."

-"Life gets better."

-"It's okay to let go and have fun."

-"The next four-ish years are all for YOU!! Be where YOU want to be and surround yourself with love."

-"Stop caring what people will think and they'll miraculously begin to think highly of you."

-"Work more, be humble, respectful, and get as much experience as you can!"

-"Take time to decompress! Time management skills and mental health come first!"

-"Branch out, be spontaneous, and make your last year of high school count!!"

-"Go for your dreams and don't think about what others think of you."

-"AP classes aren't everything."

-"It's okay to transfer schools if the first school doesn't feel right."

-"Take finances into account when looking at schools. Consider how you're going to pay off loans and what the education is worth for you."

-"There is no shame in taking care of yourself and looking out for your best interest! Go to a school that will prioritize your mental health."

-"It's okay to take a gap year or go to community college! You'll have more real world experience to bring into your training once you find a school that's right for you. You don't want to burn yourself out."

-"Make sure you are choosing the right school to give you the skills and training you're going to need to be successful after college ends, not just while you're there."

-"Believe in yourself! It only gets better from here."

-"College has SO many options. Don't be afraid to explore more."

-"Do not focus on everyone else, life is so much bigger than high school."

-"Watch out for the ones who will take advantage of you but will try to hide it with their friendship. Be open to new possibilities but remember to keep boundaries and prioritize your needs and mental health first."

-"Don't worry what others think."

-"It's not going to matter what people think about you!"

-"The best way to feel secure is to love yourself so be gentle and unapologetically you."

-"Trust yourself a little more, and focus on what's in front of you, not the past or future that's out of your control."

-"Don't settle for a situation you aren't happy in."

-"What is meant for you will come."

-"Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!"

-"Energy attracts similar energy, both good and bad."

-"Follow your gut on where you want to go. If taking a leap of faith feels right then take it."

-"Don't judge yourself based on where everyone else is going. Ivy's are overrated."

-"Everything happens in due time, so don't rush the moment you're in."

-"Take your time in figuring out who you are. Learning about yourself is beautiful, -embrace it!"

-"Not everyone has a great high school experience and it IS okay to look forward to college and new experiences because there is so much more the world has to offer!"

-"Don't stress the small things too much."

-"Matching hate with kindness and acceptance makes a world of difference for you and others."

-"Take things less seriously and prioritize yourself."

-"Quality friends are better than a large quantity of friends every time."

-"Being perfect is overrated."

-"Be present! Stay in the moment and try not to take anything for granted!"

-"Be yourself!"

-"You are unique. Don't be afraid to share your talent with the world."

I hope you were able to find some comfort from this list of advice and no matter what, never forget how special and amazing you are. Don't forget to breathe!

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