Robert Fulghum wrote a poem back in 1990 titled All I Ever Needed to know I Learned in Kindergarten. In it he writes,
“These are the things I learned:
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life – learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody
really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even
the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.
So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books
and the first word you learned – the biggest
word of all – LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any of those items and extrapolate it into
sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your
family life or your work or your government or
your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
Think what a better world it would be if
all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about
three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with
our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments
had a basic policy to always put thing back where
they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you
are – when you go out into the world, it is best
to hold hands and stick together.”
As I was pondering what to do for my senior project and reflecting on the abundance of lessons I learned in high school; I realized I really wanted to write a letter similar to Fulghum’s poem to both freshman me looking back, and my sister as she is going to be a freshman next year. Here is what I came up with.
Dear Freshman me,
All you really will ever need to know, you’ll know.
and even on the perchance that you don’t know,
being the resourceful girl you are, obviously you’ll Google it.
Knowledge will not be found in the $100,000 of college tuition debt, but rather in the classroom, on the playing field, and in everyday life. These are the things you will learn by graduation day:
Everything is better with food.
Attitude is everything.
Find a couple of things you love and apply yourself to them.
YOLO is not the best way to make major life decisions.
Stress doesn’t get you anywhere in life.
A smile and a greeting can make a persons day.
Don’t give up; on people, on life, or in class.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.
Dream big, because if you reach for the moon and miss you’ll land on a star.
Waiting until the night before to start anything is a bad idea.
Don’t be afraid of change, change is healthy.
Make friends, and “When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together”.
Family is everything. They have been yours from day one, and they will always love you. Appreciate them. Spend time with them. Savor those dinnertime moments, those times where you are laughing so hard it hurts. Soon you will be moving over 1000 miles away, eating dinner without your family; your presence at the dinner table thoroughly missed.
But take heart everything will be okay. You will still be able to Facetime, go home on the holidays, go on family camping trips, stay home for summer, and sleep in your own bed in your own house. You can still go home and eat home food; you don’t have to be a vegetarian forever.
Cherish those times with your sister. Those she may sometimes feel like an annoyance, imitation is the highest form of flattery. Go easy on her and make memories; she is only going to be an innocent middle schooler for so long. Have fun. Take adventures together. Be spontaneous.
When you start following these tips, there is one very important thing that you must do. Can you guess what it is?
Have fun. Though that’s a good one; it’s not the most important piece of advice I have for you, because you will have fun anywhere and with anything. The biggest regret you will have is not taking enough pictures. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so take pictures on top of pictures on top of pictures. There is no such thing as too many pictures, so snap away. Capture the memories, you are only in high school once.