Goodbye's have never been my strong suit. Usually, I only have students for a semester, so it's a weird, odd feeling to say goodbye and good luck to a group of students I spent most of my Saturday's with and met a year ago this summer.
I wasn't sure what to do to celebrate the end. Cupcakes and snacks seemed cliche (and we only have 30 mins for our last class), so I thought about what I would want to know if I could go back and give advice to baby-face-me. Then, I remembered this song that came out when I graduated, and I remember thinking it was so profound! I looked it up as I'm writing this, and it is still pretty profound except now that I'm older I think, "Oh, yeah, that is totally true!"
Each of you have twenty different people telling you what to do right now. I don't want to be twenty-one. This moment is probably going to be one of the biggest, scariest moments of your life, up until now. Note, I said up until now. For those of you already over it, (you know who you are) it does get better and worse at the same time, because you'll ask, "Why the hell did I rush so much?"
This will be (should be) the last moments in your life where fingers can be pointed and decisions can be made for you, so make sure you make good ones (or ask lots of questions). And, if they're not so good, make sure they're worth it.
I keep resisting the urge to give you advice because I want to, but some lessons you'll have to learn on your own. (Some, I tried to teach you in the last year.) So instead, I ask that when you read this you write down what you learned/will remember and keep it. Put it in a book, notebook, or places you'll find a year from now. Then move it and place it somewhere you will find three years from now, and add to it. Reread it. Keep it until the edges are dogeared and the creases so deeply etched you might need a new paper, and know the only things we take with us everywhere are the people we love and things we have learned. Keep track.
When I graduated from high school, I was nowhere near as accomplished as many of you. I'm in awe of each of you and am very proud to have spent time with you (even when I was shushing!) I look forward to all the wonderful things many of you will do.
Now, go read a book!