A Letter to the Class of 2016

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Dear Class of 2016,

I remember my last moments on Choate’s campus. I was standing in the doorway of Memorial House Room 304. It was the room I had moved into my freshman year in 2010 and the room that I had spent my senior year in as a Mem House prefect. Mapei’s “Don’t Wait” came blasting through my ear buds as I closed the door.

I cried. I’m not afraid to admit that. I had just graduated high school an hour ago and my mom had told me she was proud of me. Things like that don’t happen every day. Most importantly, it had started to hit me that I had done it: A little, quiet kid from North Plainfield, New Jersey had just graduated from a school his adviser hadn’t even wanted him to apply to. Plus, in that moment, I wasn’t just closing the door on the room I lived in during both my freshman and senior years; I was also closing the door on a three-month stretch known as “senior spring.”
Senior spring is a dif¬ferent animal. That’s the best way I can put it. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that will take you from your last track meet to saying goodbye to your best friends. No, it is not a time when you get skip classes. No, it is not a time when you get to relax all day, every day. No, it is not a time when you get to break school rules and still expect to graduate.

The senior spring you have probably been expecting is a lie. It’s a big, fat lie. I know this seems harsh, but I’m going to need you to get out of your feelings. The senior spring you’ve been told about is about as real as Narnia. With that being said, senior spring will still probably be the best part of your Choate experience.
Senior spring is different for everyone, so I can only speak to my experience. I entered senior spring not knowing where I was going to go to college, whether I was going to be able to finish my Capstone project on time, or whether my high school romance would continue after graduation. I had more questions than answers. Still, I thought senior spring was going to be a movie. I thought I was going to be going out every night, get¬ting extended curfew, and more. I had unrealistic expectations. But even though senior spring wasn’t what I had expected it to be, what did happen was even better than I had hoped.

I ended up finding out why senior spring is so memorable. Your last semester of high school is the last time for a lot things. For me, it was the last time I ever got to run track. I still remember setting my PR in my last track meet at Westminster and the bus ride back with Ramy and Charles and Ofo. I still remember the last time I got to plan an interschool and having my girlfriend surprise me at the dance. I remember going to Mr. D’s with Gabe, Simi, Nuha, Breanne, and Monica for the last time. I remember being in the middle of a mosh pit at Last Hurrah and having cuff links break when they played “Turn Down For What.” I remember sitting in Mem and talking to my prefectees and thinking to myself, “Wow! They’re going to change Choate forever.”

There are so many things that will seem insignificant during senior spring, but you will realize by the end of it all that you had been taking a lot of it for granted. Are all of my close friends and I ever going to be in the same place at the same time again after we graduate? Am I ever going to be able to compete on a real sports team again?
The answer for most of these questions is going to be no. You don’t get to do these things again. You get one Last Hurrah. You get one graduation. You get one senior week. You get one… unless you’re a PG, but you get the point. This moment in your life happens one time. It’s going to feel like it can’t go by quick enough, but trust me, you’re probably going to look back at your senior spring and say that it eventually became the foundation for your ex-periences going forward.
I hope you enjoy it. Most importantly, don’t leave with any regrets. If there’s something you need to say to somebody, say it. If there’s something you need to do, do it. If it works out, you’ll be glad you did it.

If it doesn’t, you’ll have one hell of a story to tell, or you can just make one up. The bottom line is that it’s high school. Don’t take it too seriously. Have fun. Live life. Count your blessings and take action. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do about it. The question is, what are you going to do to make your senior spring special?

As always,
forever true,
Ryan

One Comment

  1. Jacqueline Miller says:

    Very touching. Thank you for sharing.

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