words of wisdom from the last parent / teacher conference ever

I have made it through 284 parent teacher conferences (give or take a couple). I know that I am extremely lucky to have children who are focused students. Sometimes I went to the conference to understand the curriculum, clarify homework policy, eyeball the interesting character that my child was doing impressions of, offer support, but mostly it was a pathetic ploy to hear nice things about my kids, and sometimes to bask in reflected praise. I will say again, emphatically, that I KNOW how lucky I am. So what is the parent of a graduating senior doing showing up at school in May? I told the teachers to put away the grade book for a minute and give me their parting words of wisdom for a college bound student. I was moved by their advice.

AP English: Don't wait for the teacher to tell you what pages to read. You will have a syllabus for the whole semester and you may have to be reading a book a week. If you can read ahead, do! Find authors that you love, experiment and keep reading for pleasure.

Organic Chemistry: Don't automatically do the "smart" thing - like study the subject that you think will get you the job that will give you the most money - experiment and follow your passion. Study what you find that you love, not what your parents think you should study. Pace yourself day to day. Study hard and then make sure that you have a couple days to play every week, oh, and index cards are good study aids.

AP Calculus: Make good friends and look for friends outside your normal circle. Take the opportunity if it arises to get to know your professors outside the classroom. Ask for help, or at least ask a lot of questions about everything. This is your safe place to explore everything.

College Counselor: Take a semester abroad, not just a summer. Experiment with all subjects. Find the good professors and whatever subject they are teaching - TAKE IT!

Theatre: Just because you are off to bigger and better things, don't throw away the things you learned in high school (including your notes! they may come in handy). Build on your foundation. No experience is wasted if you use it - even to find out that you don't want to repeat a mistake.

Physics: Find a mentor. Find the people that inspire you and find a way to work with them, through an internship or research. 

Italian: Travel! but always remember your home. Don't cram. Pace yourself.

Dance: Ignore how other people might judge you. Stop being afraid to look foolish. Take risks, show your emotions, be silly, live big.

I will miss them.