Senior goodbye: A battle between my current self and future self


Shae Daugherty

” I dedicated too much time to the future version of me, but if I continue to do that, I will never enjoy my choices and decisions.”

Editor’s note: Senior goodbye columns reflect on senior staffers’ experiences through high school and allow them an opportunity to share what they have learned with the school. Each senior Red Ledger staffer presents his or her personal perspective. One staffer’s column will be posted every day until all are published.

High school is the ultimate contradiction of advice telling you to “live in the moment” but “prepare for the future.”

Enjoy these “best four years of our lives” but “keep post-high school in the back of our minds.”

Most of all, focus on working hard during high school so that you can be successful in your next venture. Admittingly, both sides of this equilibrium are important, just as too much of one side is no good. And ultimately, maintaining a constant equilibrium – that’s hard.

Throughout high school, I discovered every day is a battle between your current self and your future self. Every decision will benefit either the version of yourself you see in the mirror today or the version of yourself you are envisioning in five, ten or 15 years, and almost every time the right decision is not clear.

In high school, I chose the latter version of myself more often than not, and that was a mistake. Long ago, I made one decision based on whether it was advantageous for my future, without pausing to consider how the decision would affect my current welfare. And then I made another decision using the same process.

And another.

And another at which point the battle between my current self and my future self was no longer a battle because my future self had already won.

During freshman year, I missed out on enjoying the newness of high school because I was too focused on setting the proper foundation for the rest of my high school career. During sophomore year, too often I chose studying over my friends. During junior year, I cushioned my GPA with, admittingly, more AP classes than I could handle. And during senior year, I sacrificed a portion of my sanity to spend one month receiving college decisions from five months worth of work.

And what did I learn at the end of the entire experience?

I am walking away from high school without regrets, but also with the knowledge I dedicated too much of my four years of high school to preparing for another four years at an unknown school. I surrendered too easily in the battle against myself, and as I move onto college, I will be more wary of this.

Now, let me be clear: this is not me advocating to completely disregard the possible consequences of your actions. It is not wrong to consider your future because the future is important, but one needs to balance helping themself and the future version of themself. I dedicated too much time to the future version of me, but if I continue to do that, I will never enjoy my choices and decisions.

So, I leave you with this: prepare for the future but don’t obsess over it.

Go to that football game because one day you might wish you spent more Fridays at the stadium than at your house.

Go on that study break with your friends instead of cramming for the AP exam because you have probably worked hard enough.

Stand up for yourself to your friends and family because there is no use in waiting on your future self to gain more confidence.

And lastly, fight hard, be a little selfish and choose your current self over the person you think you are going to become. Your future self will still thank you later.