As a rising college freshman, I am about to close this chapter of my life. The beautiful, heart-wrenching, yet life-changing experiences that I have been blessed to have.
It was just another typical Thursday, but it was spent packing up my room to go to my next destination: college. And we all know that when we start packing, emotions start overwhelming our thought process.
Some of you know me as the girl who cries too much during Vida Nueva, a few of you might know me as the girl who takes too many notes for a lecture we won't even have a quiz on, others might even consider me the "mom friend." But anyone who knows me knows for a fact I WILL keep ANYTHING someone gives me for the sentimental value. I know what you're thinking. "Lillianna, you can throw it away. It's just a piece of paper with a smiley face on it." I have heard it multiple times before, but what you do not see is the individual who drew that and the things they did to better me as a person.
As I approached the days leading up to graduation, younger classmates swamped my phone with questions regarding advice for high school, how to improve their faith, and just life in general. I am by no means someone who can tell you how life works and what the "perfect" decision is for the situation you are in, but I wouldn't mind sharing some things I learned over my high school years.
Well, we will begin with the upcoming freshmen. Now, fearless freshmen, I must break it to you: your high school years will be NOTHING like the romanticized high school movies. We might post photos of football games and getting dressed up for homecoming, but we know there is much more that happens behind our screens. I can promise you there will be your fair share of heartbreaks and love, but maybe not in the ways you think. You will learn to deal with change and figure out how high school works. Understand no one has any clue what is going on, regardless of age. The biggest lesson I learned during my freshman year was to understand that I am allowed to not be the perfect person that social media's facade said I had to be. Do not get caught up in being what the movies show. Make it your own.
Soon to be sophomores, you have finally upgraded to not being freshmen! I know that you're going into your next year with confidence. After all, now you know your way around high school and have some time management skills, but you might begin to hear whispers about college. Suddenly, your future is going to be a lot closer than you ever expected. People react to stress differently, and how we react might change over the years. This will change our interests and the people we choose to hang around. My sophomore year taught that me people will drift into new groups and some will come and introduce you to others. Just because people come and go doesn't make you any less of a person. Change is bound to happen!
Oh jittery juniors, this year will be a lot. You all already know this so there is no reason to dwell on what we have no control over. But as my junior year taught me, it is okay to be confused and feel lost. It IS okay to ask for help. The world has told you to join every club and sport and proceed to enroll in every honors class, but that couldn't be further from the truth. We as humans are not meant to overwork ourselves. Recognize your body's responses to stress. Try new hobbies and do what YOU love. This does NOT mean you are weak for struggling. In fact, it makes you stronger acknowledging your overall health. If you need to seek professional help, do not hesitate. We all need help at some point in life, so do not be afraid to reach out.
Lastly, my sentimental seniors, I would like to congratulate you as you are about to conclude your high school years. I am going into my freshman year of college so I had the experience of being a "quaranteen" for my senior year. I think anyone from the graduating class of 2020 will be the quickest of the newer generations to try and tell you to cherish memories. The best advice I can give you is to appreciate and reflect on your growth throughout the years but to find excitement in the next chapters to come. I know this time can be low-spirited and filled with tears, reminiscing on the impressions left on you from people and experiences, but I dare you to turn that impression into inspiration.
I know what it is like to think you are prepared for what life has to throw at us. But the truth is we can never TRULY be ready for the obstacles we will have to face. Everyone will tell you "if you join this club you can receive this award that will get you into this college," when in reality there is so much more to life than what other people expect of you. You were not created to fill in the cracks where others missed out. You were created to be insightful, fascinating, rare, strong, intelligent, special, daring, enchanting, considerate, and unique. So my last piece of advice for you high school kiddos: you were created to be you, so be nothing less than the true you.
While the team at Bloom certainly understands the struggles of being a military teen, we are by no means equipped or qualified to offer assistance or counsel. If you or a loved one is in need of mental help or is suffering from trauma or abuse, we encourage you to talk to a parent, teacher, counselor, or other trusted adult. Additionally, you can check out our Resources page for different places you can go to seek mental health help. Remember, you are not alone.