Class of 2020 to the World: We Got This!

Class of 2020 to the World: We Got This!

Do you remember the “Advice from Kindergarteners” poster that made the rounds years ago, the one that shared life advice through the lens of 5-year-olds? The honesty (and often unintentional humor) of these very young voices rang true for many adults and reminded me of an assignment I have my seniors complete each year.

At the end of every school year, I have each of my seniors write a letter to a rising senior.

Below are some of the pieces of advice they offered to the Class of 2021--some may be witty, some rushed, but many are powerful reminders for us all.

To anyone who may be worried if our 2020 seniors are going to be okay, you only need to scroll through their words to know we have nothing to worry about; they are going to be just fine.

And to my cherubs (that’s what I call my kiddos) who participated in this assignment, I thank you, I love you, and I’m so grateful I am able to continue to learn from you beyond our time in the classroom.

                        Advice from The Class of 2020 to The  Class of 2021

                                            (In their own words)

One thing I wish I knew about the beginning of my senior year was the calamity awaiting us. If I would have known, I would have cherished and enjoyed the moments I had instead of taking them for granted.

You guys should look forward to new opportunities.

My advice to you about school is do what you enjoy.

I am a person who doesn’t really want to study, I prefer taking naps and watching Netflix, but at some time you will realize that you have to learn and study to get somewhere in life.

There will be times where you will feel very low, but things will also get better. I didn’t think I could do certain things but I still did them.

In all actuality, senior year isn’t much different from other years, besides more work at the beginning of the year and a crash in motivation at the end (everyone will get senioritis, even if they don’t think they will).

Practice your hobby, pick up a new one, and just enjoy the year.

If you have the chance to participate in something, do it.

A huge thing I learned this year from academics and classes is that you need to build relationships with your teachers and counselor!

For friend advice I would say literally let go of anyone that’s unhealthy.

This is the last year you can fully mooch off your parents for everything.

If you're new to an area, find a group of friends, travel to new places.

If you need friends, join sports teams and clubs. Trust me this will help you a lot.

Spend time with the people around you (especially your parents and friends).

Say hi to teachers in the hallway.

The one thing I wish I would have known is to not wait around to make plans and have fun; if you want to do something, go for it!

Trust yourself when it comes to making the right decisions about college, where you belong, and who you are.

Go to school dances, and actually dance. I wish I had known homecoming would be my last high school dance, I would have lived it up more.

Stay beautiful and drink some water.

Don't waste time fighting with people, or being scared of tests, take it as it is, and keep on moving and have fun while you do.

Try and get some sleep, and wake up and be thankful.

Play some music, do your work now not later, and enjoy all this year has to offer.

Take your senior year in baby steps and appreciate every little part of it.

The best advice that I can really give to this class is to not let your feet drag; work hard no matter how tired you are.

Live it up and get a little wild every once in a while, but stay responsible and true to yourself.

It is the little things you hardly think about that leave a lasting impression.

Don’t waste time on petty things and drama when you could be laughing with the people who truly care about you.

Get in touch with old friends. I got in touch with a friend from 1st grade and we still talk!

If you already have a plan for your life, good for you. If you don't, don't waste time stressing. I had no idea what I wanted to do until about a month before graduation. Everything will work itself out and you will find your way eventually.

Everything has a way of working out, so as long as you don’t actively make the situation worse, it is going to be okay!

Enjoy the time you have.

Go out with your friends when they offer.

Take many pictures and videos of you and your friends, spend as much time with your friends as you can, crush on as many people you want, wear whatever you want, date as many people you want, and try new things that scare you!

I can’t stress this enough, DO NOT DATE YOUR SENIOR YEAR, it just ends badly.

Allow yourself to be in charge of your own life.

Senior year is kind of like a crazy big rollercoaster, and I love rollercoasters, but this rollercoaster scared me.

I wish I spent more time being with friends, spent more time getting involved with my class, I wish I didn't worry so much about my future and what is going to happen to me.

Don't waste time worrying and stressing. Do what you love to do and ignore people who have a problem with that.

Always have a backup plan, or a backup-backup plan!

Take a step back and look at the situations around you. When you take a step back you are able to see everything that is going on around you. You can find your solutions much faster this way.

As a final word, if I made it, you will too.

(Dawn MacFarland is currently working on a poster of “Life Advice From High School Seniors.”)

Dawn MacFarland has 20 years of service in the classroom to military-connected students and families through DoDEA (Department of Defense Education Activity). She began her teaching career in Tucson, Arizona, and has taught in London, England, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as Hanau and Stuttgart, Germany.

Ms. MacFarland’s lifelong commitment is dedicated to educating the whole child—mind and heart.  Ms. MacFarland’s career is cultivated by a mindset that looks beyond typical markers of student success and dives deeper into areas of long-term student development and growth.  Her entire concept of teaching revolves around the idea that in education, as in life, leaders need to build relationships, and create climates of security, in order to get the best out of the communities they serve.

Ms. MacFarland was a DoDEA Teacher of the Year finalist in 2020 and is the DoDEA Europe East Teacher of the Year. She is a proud member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY), and you can follow her on Twitter @MindandHeartEDU.


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