Senior year started off at a steady pace with a few crunch times in the fall around college application deadlines and midterms. The sports you played and the events you attended flew by, month after month, and you racked up too many good times to count. Prom was on the horizon and happened before you knew it. And now, you are headed to that main stage to finally receive that small piece of paper that you’ve worked so hard to obtain. That’s right, it’s diploma time. Congratulations, you did it! But, now what? Before you move on to the next part of your life, follow these steps to say goodbye to high school once and for all:

1. Reflect on your personal progress. So many times, people reach milestones in their professional realm, but overlook the personal growth that has coincided with it. Don’t be that person: you have to realize that high school not only paves the way to your future, but has also given you the foundation to be the person you are today. You might not be done growing into your adult self, but by now, you have a pretty good idea of what you value, believe, and want to accomplish next. What have been some catalyst moments in high school that had profound effects on your personality? What decisions were hard to make, but necessary? What achievements are you most proud of? If you look back on these things, you may find hidden value in them that wasn’t there before. Use this new insight to be a roadmap for college and beyond. For instance, you might realize you have consistently been the person people to turn to mediate turbulent situations throughout high school, which sounds like you would excel at psychology in college. Did you feel a thrilling feeling when you received a standing ovation in a school play? Sounds like you would enjoy pursuing the performing arts. You’re not supposed to have everything figured out yet, but you can jumpstart a career path just by figuring out what has made you happy in high school.

2. Show your friends you care.
Now that high school is over, the people you’ve seen for four years straight are going to head down their own path–which is an unsettling feeling! You may not want to think about it now, but soon, your friends are going to branch out all over the country, the globe, and things are going to be different. You shouldn’t be too worried yet: right after graduation, your classmates might travel a bit or stay busy with a summer job before college starts in the fall. But, slowly and surely, your friends will migrate and you’ll have to stand by in support. Before that happens, commemorate your friendships, high school, and your senior summer with keepsakes that will last forever. Remind them how much they have meant to you throughout high school and tell them that no matter what happens, where they go, or what they end up doing, you will always be their friend. Perhaps even set a time and place in the future to reconvene as your own friend reunion! Money and status are not the point of life–the people you meet along the way are. 

3. Celebrate your successes.
You may have looked at graduation as an eventuality, but it really is a big accomplishment! Some people don’t even get this far, so pat yourself on the back. Did you get a scholarship for next year, or win a contest for a grant? Go you!! Did you take state one year in a sport, or place in a championship? Get voted class president or get in the Homecoming Court? Got an internship for the summer? You’ve done something awesome over the last four years (probably several awesome things), so now is the time to humble brag to your family, collect that grad cash, and live it up with your peers!

How else can you say goodbye to high school? How did you feel on Graduation Day? Share your story in the comments!