When I was younger, 2020 seemed like an imaginary year. So far away that the present could never reach. My 7-year-old self, playing with Barbies in her pink and purple room, pictured this 18-year-old to be so grown up and perfect– ready to take on the world. I remember thinking I would have my entire life planned out by graduation. Boy, was I wrong. If I could go back in time and give 7-year-old me some high school advice, here is what I’d tell her:
Never take anything for granted
If I told little me that a pandemic called the “coronavirus” would take away the fourth semester of my senior year, the little girl would have laughed and said that I am reading too many sci–fi books. But as a 2020 senior, I have learned the hard way that time is precious. My advice is to not hold grudges. Hang out with your friends. Go to every football game. Enjoy your sports seasons. Make time for your family. You never know when the hourglass will stop.
You do not need to please everyone
Mini-Mia, you are going to want to make everyone happy; it is just who you are. This is not possible. It is okay that you heard a false rumor going around. It is okay that you got offended by an adult. It is okay that you have some bad days. You will be okay. Always remember to keep your head up and stick to what you believe in. People are entitled to their own opinions as well. Respect those. Have an open mind with controversial topics. Only be friends with people who have your best interests at heart.
It is okay to branch out of your friend group
Everyone is still learning who they are in high school. You are going to grow and change; this is okay. Make all sorts of friends. It is unrealistic to compare your friend group to the Disney channel shows, Mia. Where they came from, what they are involved in, who they are dating does not matter. If you share a bond, pursue it. More than likely, your best friends will be the ones most opposite from you.
Do not compromise your self worth for a relationship
Yes, Mia, you will fall for the older, reckless boy. But, it does not matter. You know your morals. Stay true to them and trust that you know what a healthy relationship is. Do what is best for YOU. Things will all work out how they are supposed to; do not stay up worrying about it. Put your smile back on your face and have fun with your girlfriends.
Don’t be afraid to try something new
I know, it is scary branching out in high school when everyone just wants to “fit in.” But in the end, I promise you it will be worth it, Mia. In all honesty, you will be nervous to join a new group of people. It will be scary to jump right into reporting when it seems so easy to the team. But if you think about it, they are all there to do the same thing as you are, write! So join the newspaper. You will thrive.
Rock your British accent, Bruv
Yes, your friends and family will indeed tell you that it is terrible and doesn’t sound British at all. Talk in it anyway. Remember to always stay goofy because life is so much more interesting when you are having fun. Embrace your loud laugh because, unfortunately, it will not change in your upcoming years. Use your kindness and spread it throughout the high school halls, you never know what is going on in someone else’s life.
Appreciate your teachers
Most of the time, kids around me forget that our teachers have at-home lives. I can say without a doubt, that even though life can get pretty crazy, every teacher that I’ve had at NPHS has gone above and beyond what fits their job description to make sure I achieve. They have stayed extra hours, emailed me past their bedtimes, Facetimed me, and even came to my house to help me take a single photo… Thank you. Your actions do not go unnoticed.
In the fall of 2020, I plan to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. This dream would not have been possible without my teachers at NPHS, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. Specifically, there are a few whom I will never forget:
Mrs. Hoatson: Thank you for always listening to me and treating me as your own. I am extremely grateful for all of our laughs and deep conversations. I loved taking both of your classes, and I will carry those lessons I learned with me into my future.
Mrs. Werkmeister: I still cannot believe you trusted me to watch your kids, just kidding. Thank you for always being a positive light in my life, I always looked forward to advanced English/comp, or even Student Council because you could improve my mood instantly.
Mr. Stevens: Thank you for believing in me. I remember talking to you about applying to Georgetown, and you told me I could do it. You did not laugh at me. I will always cherish that.
Mr. Bruck: I loved our Washington D.C trip so much that I decided to go to college there! Thank you for always bringing a smile to my face and advancing my sense of humor. I’ll make sure to bring home a dad joke for you.
Mr. Cooper: Thank you for teaching me to never give up. I have always disliked math, but you made the hours on end of trig and stats bearable. I spent my entire sophomore year in your room, but it taught me dedication.
Ms. Larson: Joining journalism was one of the greatest decisions I made senior year, thank you for welcoming me right away. You have taught me to be unapologetically myself, and your wise words have made me a stronger young woman.
In these moments without our final NPHS hallway-goodbyes, I have come to appreciate those closest to me even more. I want to thank my family for being my constant support system and my friends for making the last four years incredible. Little 7-year-old-Mia dreamed of being a high school cheerleader. High school-Mia dreamed of going out and seeing the world. Both of my dreams have now become a reality, but I couldn’t have done it without all of my supporters.
No matter where I go, I will never stop cheering on North Platte High. I am proud of my hometown.
Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog.