27 Things You Should Do Before You Leave High School

When the last bell rings, it will be too late.

1. Skip school with your closest friends one day.

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Unless you’re chronically missing school, you can afford to go on an epic adventure that none of you will ever forget.

2. If you don’t exercise, start.

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College freshman traditionally gain 15 pounds, so it’s a good idea to begin a workout regimen now to help you stay fit when you’re pulling all nighters and eating too much pizza.

3. Go to prom if you have even a tiny smidge of interest in doing so.

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Yes, proms can be cheesy (and aren’t nearly as popular as they once were), but many adults regret having not gone to theirs. If you want to go, forget what others may think, and go.

4. Attend a school event you normally wouldn’t.

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There’s a whole lot more going on at your school than you realize. Before you leave it for good check out a game, musical performance, or play.

5. Start doing your own laundry if you haven’t already.

You’ll have to do it when you move into a dorm or your own place, so you might as well start now when your parents are around to explain what “tumble dry low” means.

6. Clean up your social media presence.

Regardless of whether you’ll be going to college or starting a new job, you’re going to want to present the best you to the world. Ask yourself, “Is this a photo or comment I’d want my professor/boss to see?” If it’s not, hit delete.

7. Do a senior prank, but don’t take it too far.

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Have fun, but don’t be destructive or go beyond what is expected. Getting expelled (or even - gasp - arrested) is a really dumb idea a few weeks from graduation.

8. Tell the teachers who meant something to you just that.

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Good teachers want nothing more than to know they’ve made a difference in their students’ lives. If a teacher made a difference in yours, let them know.

9. Get their contact info, too.

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Most of your classmates will be easy to reach online after high school, but teachers aren’t always as accessible. If you want to stay in touch, ask for their email address. They may come in handy as a graduate school reference one day.

10. Take a video of walking from one class to the next.

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It may seem mundane now, but some day, when high school is just a memory, being able to re-live the steps you took from one class to the next will blow your mind.

11. Make an audio recording of your friends.

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Hit “record” on the voice memo app on your cell phone, then set it aside and chat as you normally do. One day you’ll cherish this recording because it’ll remind you of how you and your friends really were (and how close you were, too).

12. Make a playlist of songs that you played the most.

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Listening to this in the future will take you back faster than a time machine.

13. Make a time capsule.

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You may be tempted to throw out the loose papers in your backpack, but hard as it may be to believe, one day you’ll love seeing them. Put them (and other items from your high school life) in a box marked “Don’t Open Until…” You’ll be glad you did.

14. Take a great photo of you and your family.

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The opportunities to take family photos get rarer and rarer as time goes on, so make an effort to get one now.

15. Also snap one with your friends, aka your chosen family.

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Not to be a bummer, but once high school ends all of your friends may never be in one place at the same time again. Savor your time together, and get that shot.

16. Make a list of the best and worst things about high school.

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Looking back it’s all too easy to remember high school as either “all good” or “all bad.” Take a little time to write down what you really think about the experience (both the good AND the bad) so that in the future you’ll remember it as it really was.

17. Catch up with a friend you drifted away from.

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Many friends drift apart in high school as they find new social groups. If there’s someone you drifted apart from, spend a few minutes asking them about their plans for the future. You’ll both appreciate the closure this brings.

18. Prepare something to write in yearbooks.

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You’re going to be signing a lot of yearbooks, so it’s a good idea think of something meaningful to write. If you don’t, people will pull out their yearbook in 20 years to see you wrote, “U R Cool. Have a gr8 summer!”

19. Eat in the cafeteria one last time.

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Cafeteria food isn’t always the best, but it’s worth soaking up the sights, sounds, and (sometimes) underwhelming flavors of the lunchtime experience one last time.

20. Cook your family a meal.

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This is a terrific way to say “Thank you” to your family for all they’ve done for you. It’s also a chance to practice your cooking skills which you’re going to need once you move out. Just don’t pull a Jennifer Lawrence.

21. Thank the school staff including the secretary, custodian, etc.

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It takes more than teachers and administrators to make a school run smoothly. Saying a quick “thank you” to your school’s unsung heroes will be appreciated, especially since they’ve undoubtedly done far more for you than you even realize.

22. Apologize to someone you treated poorly.

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High school can be a pretty cold place, and sometimes even nice people say or do something hurtful. If you’ve hurt someone, offer an apology. They will likely appreciate it, and you will feel a lot less guilty in the days to come.

23. Stand up for yourself.

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Did someone bully you or treat you poorly? Now is the time to tell them you didn’t appreciate it. It may be scary to do, but you’ll be glad you did it so you can leave these hurt feelings in the past.

24. Tell a crush you like them.

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When you’re older you will regret the chances you didn’t take far more than the ones you did. Besides, what do you have to lose? If they blow you off you won’t have to see them ever again once school is out.

25. Print out photos you took and put them in an album.

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For all of the photos we take these days with our cell phones and digital cameras, very few get printed out. It may be old fashioned, but a photo album will be a valued keepsake one day.

26. Make a plan for the summer and beyond.

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It’s easy to feel a little lost once high school ends, but if you’ve made a plan for the future you’ll still have direction.

27. Be proud of yourself.

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Regardless of whether you loved or hated high school, you did it. You’re on to the next phase of your life and should feel proud of what you accomplished.

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