“Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room,
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home.
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother’s favorite songs.”

Those are words from a Taylor Swift song, but, oh my sweet, beautiful, goal-driven seniors, remember them. You’re ready to move onto the next chapter of your life, I know you are — and rightfully so. Your college years are a great, exciting new adventure. These years ahead will open your mind and your heart to places they’ve never been. You will meet people from all places and walks of life. Some will befriend you, many will teach you, some will be parts of some of the most memorable nights of your life, and then others will let you down. These years will be ones of exponential growth. You’re headed for the beginnings of your walk into adulthood, and when you’re done with the next four years, you will look back and see just what I meant when these words were written.

Every year I have a few seniors that I truly see small bits and pieces of my high school self in. Bailey’s drive in school and extracurriculars and her bubbly personality were just that. On the other hand though, I did NOT have her style in high school. I’m not even old, at all, but for some reason I feel like the seriously rockin’ styles my seniors come to the table with now just weren’t nearly as awesome…or maybe I was totally out of the fashion loop. Ew, let’s not dwell there.

Let’s dwell on Bailey’s earthy crochet-style dress that I need as a wardrobe addition and the to-die-for light in her field shots…

Hats and pearls will forever remain classy to me and tans and blacks do far too much for my soul. My mom used to fuss me when I was little because she claimed I only had grays, blacks, whites, and tans in my wardrobe. This still remains about 70% true and I’m not mad about it. Sorry momma! I just think they’re such classy, earthy colors.

Bailey, and my many sweet seniors that will leave an imprint on me this year — savor these moments. Enjoy the experiences ahead, and never, ever lose that beautiful drive that exists in you now. It will get you many places in life. It will be your intuition and your guiding light when adult things begin to muddle your sparkle. It will be your satisfaction at the end of countless hours and days of studying or working towards some huge, scary goal. It will be much of what’s left in you when those you count on let you down. And somewhere among the muddle when all of these things happen, you will remember your drive. You will remember the strong, beautiful woman your momma, your daddy, your grandma, your teachers, your mentors helped you become in those definitive years of your childhood. Never let anyone dull that beautiful sparkle!