It’s the question that every high school senior avoids, “What are your plans?” If we were to answer that with our truthful thoughts, it would probably be something like “Dude, I can barely afford a chocolate milk, some gas for my car, and I barely passed math this year. Now ask me again what my plans are, because I really just don’t know the answer to that question.”
Instead, we say, “I’m attending a university in the fall to further my education. I’m so excited to move on to this next chapter in my life!” as we put a fake smile on our face and secretly have that little voice in our heads that says, “Nice one, you sounded like you got it figured out.”
The truth is, we continually put off scholarships. We take every single moment up until graduation for granted and then once it gets here, we just want to go back and do it all differently. It sucks how this process works, like it would be nice if we could have a practice senior year and then go back and do the real one so that we would know what moments to spend a little more time on.
For me, I was so focused on getting out of there that I didn’t slow down one bit. It was almost as if I slammed the gas in my car and then once I got to the end of the road, I realized I was on empty. You never realize how much high school has taken part in your life until it’s over. You never realize how honored you are to not have to work, pay bills or fill up your gas tank until you have to do it all yourself.
It’s a huge step in life, and it’s almost a depressing one. I guess it’s just how you look at it. The best part of moving out for me, and the hardest part also, was realizing how much I have neglected my relationship with my mother. We as high-schoolers tend to put our parents on the back burner because we think that they don’t understand, when they honestly understand more than anyone does. I have never appreciated my mom more in my life than I do now.
Advice to the high-schoolers, especially girls, your mom is your best friend. I promise, if you don’t realize that now, you will realize it soon.
On the other hand, if you’re a student-athlete, here are my words to you — enjoy it or give it up. My senior year, I played one sport, which was by far the best decision I have made in my career as a high school athlete. It was just kind of a random decision, but I am glad I made it. Sports are time-consuming, and can take a huge toll on your personal life because you won’t have one. They take dedication, passion and attitude.
As far as the attitude, just make sure you choose the right one. I learned my lesson the hard way. Whether you are there to win, or to better yourself and exit your comfort zone, make sure you have a love for the sport you’re playing because if you don’t, then you ruin it for every other girl who does love that sport.
Passion is the biggest character trait to have in a sport; passion for the game and passion for your team. My senior year was my time of evaluation, I didn’t want to be a high school athlete anymore and I made that choice. Point is, don’t be afraid to make risky decisions. They may just be the exact thing you need.
One thing I do regret in high school is not giving my academics more attention. I never realized how important they were until I was sending transcripts with scholarships, and I was staring at them like, “My god, what was I thinking?” To be fair, my lowest grade was a C and the rest were Bs, but my mom set the bar very high for me, so as you can imagine, I set the bar high for myself as well. The older I got, the better my grades looked, but I wish I would have started sooner.
Leaving high school is an unimaginable feeling; hard, but great at the same time. I regret many things, but I’m very proud of myself for many things as well. To the high-schoolers, especially high school athletes — I hope that you answer with a ridiculous answer when someone asks you what your plans are, because we can’t all be lying and pretending we have it all figured out. Someone has to take one for the team.
Keilee Templeman is a graduate of Capitan High School and is the summer intern for the Daily Record. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this column are those of the author.