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Four Years at the Mount

Senior Year

Dear Self

Nicole Jones
Class of 2014

(7/2013) Dear Self,

There are some things about life that you should know. I may only be writing this a few years in your future, but I learned a lot in that time. I donít want to spoil the adventure for you, so I canít tell you everything, but there are some general tips I want to give you. Take them or leave them, but know that whether or not you apply them now, you will learn them later.

First, you shouldnít take high school so seriously. Itís not the most important thing in life. Itís your senior year, so go have fun and be a teenager before responsibilities swoop in to ruin the day. Iím not saying you shouldnít keep your grades up, but put down your fifth book of the week and go hang out with some friends. You work hard and should take the occasional opportunity for fun. You should know that your efforts in school are rewarded with more than just good grades. I wonít spoil the surprise, but I know that youíll love it.

No one expects you to be perfect, so stop worrying about trying to be. It is okay to make mistakes. Just relax and donít let fear hold you back from trying and accomplishing new things. That goes for driving, too. I know the responsibility can be scary, but itís one for which youíre ready. Besides, a license is a necessity these days, so be brave, take a deep breath, and drive.

Hint: apply to summer jobs before summer actually arrives. They arenít going to be easy to find because businesses most likely want to give positions to people supporting a family before a high school student who just needs gas money, but the jobs are out there. Youíll go through dozens of applications. Keep trying and remember to follow up wherever you apply. If an employer hears your voice or has the chance to meet you in person, he is a lot more likely to at least give you an interview. Also, donít be so picky about where you work. The food industry isnít glamorous, but working with the public and in a team setting is good experience for future job opportunities. The tips arenít bad either.

Appreciate your high school friends while you have them. You will fall out of touch with them because college will give you friends that relate to you better. That doesnít change the fact that youíve had a lot of fun and made some great memories with your high school buddies. Maybe you should try staying in touch with them a little more after you graduate. You will never be as close with them as you are now, but it doesnít hurt to keep tabs on one another.

Donít give up on your volunteer work at the Carroll County 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program. I know it can be tiring and even frustrating at times, but the end result is always good for you and those youíre helping. You are making a difference in someoneís life, and I have yet to find something more rewarding. Youíll also have an awesome teaching opportunity arise from this.

This will be your last full show season before college, so enjoy all of your horseback riding competitions. I wish you would try to relax a little bit more in the arena; itís supposed to be fun, not stressful. Just try your best and enjoy the challenge. Youíll have plenty of other things to stress about later.

Learn how to play the piano again. If you hadnít stopped taking lessons, you may have never tried horseback riding, but now that you ride, take up the ivory keys again too. You donít have to take lessons, just buy a keyboard and a book and teach yourself. As you get older, you will begin to appreciate music even more, and youíll be very glad to know how to play an instrument. An understanding of music will also be important for you to fully enjoy some of the musicians youíll grow to love in college. Remember to explore music on your own and not to rely entirely on what friends and family listen to. There are some incredible artists out there just waiting to be heard.

Try to thank your teachers every once in a while, especially Mr. Beard and Mrs. Wood. Mr. Beardís hard work gave you a strong foundation in English. I truly believe it is in large part thanks to him that you will go on to do so well in college. Remember as much from his classes as possible. You will use his rules and techniques for every class essay and newspaper article you write. Mrs. Wood largely encouraged your desire to learn languages, something that youíll pursue in college. She also helps you with public speaking. Thank her for that, because it will be very important later in life.

You donít know it yet, but you will want to be a speech pathologist. This doesnít change your current plans. Still go to the Mount. Still major in Communication Studies. You will miss out on so many good things if you replace those four years for a direct route into the major at a different school. The people you will befriend at the Mount are incredible. Olivia Gorman, Maggy Mastin, Lisa Lopez, and David Gayhart. Remember those names and seek them out as soon as possible your freshman year at the Mount. You will need each of their support, advice, and company in the future.

Youíve always loved to read, so keep a few more dollars in your pocket by befriending the public library. You already have the card, just remember to use it. Itíll free up your wallet and bookshelves for those books you absolutely must have. Oh, and donít worry when Borders goes out of business. A new bookstore will take its place.

Go to church whenever you have the chance. Though it may not seem like it now, your faith is important, and you wonít always have access to a decent church. Being heavily exposed to religion six days of the week made you burn out a little, but when you go to college you will appreciate everything youíve learned. It will help you make some wise decisions, and it will give you answers to questions you never thought you would ask yourself.

Most importantly, treat your parents well. They sacrifice so much for you to go to private schools and give you everything you have, and they ask for nothing in return. Sometimes your teenage attitude gets in the way of remembering this, so you donít always give them the respect they deserve. Just do what is asked of you Ė itís never a lot. Thank them often and say I love you daily.

I donít expect you to remember all of this, which is of course why Iíve written it down. Keep this in a safe place and reread it every now and then. Hopefully it will help to make you a better person and help smooth over some of lifeís little bumps. Know that there isnít anything to be afraid of. Your life is a very blessed one, so be excited for your future because there is a lot to be excited about. Also, know that whatever hardships you may face, you will make it through. This letter is proof enough of that. 

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