5 Things I Wish I Knew Senior Year

September 9, 2016

1. Things won’t always go as planned… And that’s okay: have your goals, but allow the path you take to change as needed.

This wonderful piece of advice came from my flight instructor when her disgruntled student was struggling with landings. I was hard on myself. The frustration set in, which caused me to perform even worse, which made the situation even more upsetting. A venomous cycle to say the least.

However, her advice started to transcended outside of flight training. I soon ran into trouble with rent and became homeless. In addition to not being able to attend college because I just couldn’t afford the tuition.

I felt terrible. I felt like a failure. But I made a change, and decided to break away from the traditional flight route and diving route, and do things a little bit differently

And BOOM! here I am today, training for the Olympics, doing flight training outside of my school, and being a photographer. The things that I always wanted to do but were not possible where I was. I had to allow my path to change in order to get everything I wanted due to the circumstances I met in life.

So when things don’t quite go your way, push through it. When your plan falls apart, work around it. In fact, create a bigger a better plan! Create a plan that fits your current situation. Change your perspective, and find all the positive things that will come. Focus on the things you can control. Changing pace is scary, like pool drain scary. But you have to be scared if you want to grow. You have to be able to adapt when outside of your comfort zone to get to your end goal.


Which leads me to my next point:

2. NEVER Give Up On Your Dreams

When I was in 5th grade my school forced me to take swimming lessons. I lied to the instructor telling her I couldn’t swim in an effort to get put in the novice group that didn’t have to deal with deep water and pool drains. “Unfortunately” my previous swim instructor was there and I got placed into a more advanced group where my goal became to overcome my fear of deep water and my fear of pool drains. (Pool drains scare me more than anything else in this world, even death as they are equally up there) Towards the end I saw a diver do a super cool dive. I thought to myself, “I want to do that!” The Olympics came on about 4 months after that, and the next thing you know I wanted to be an Olympian!

But the road hasn’t always had me in the mindset I am in today. I was told I would never make it, by friends or through coaches attitudes. That eventually led me to doubting in myself. After graduation I fell away from the sport. I gave up on myself.

But when I started facing financial troubles, I started diving again. Something called me back to the pool, and suddenly, despite all that was going on, I was the happiest I had ever been. Yeah I was stressed to the max, but I was finally happy. Path changes + never giving up = success.

So when the doubt creeps in and the vultures start circling, you fight back. You push the through the heart ache. You overcome all the difficult, the nasty, the mean, the unfair. You gained this dream for a reason, because you love it. Which is something that is truly rare in today society. It’s special. Keep it. hold on to it tight, and never let it go. Don’t just survive. Thrive.

3. It’s okay to drift away from your high school friends. As you grow some people no longer fit into your life. And that’s okay.

This one was hard for me at first. Seriously. I didn’t have many (any) real friends growing up. My first group of friends came when my Junior year of high school. It was the first time I found a group of people who liked me for who I was, not what I was trying to be. So when we started communicating less and less after graduation it hurt a little. Okay a lot. It felt like I lost myself all over again. But time is good at one thing: healing. Just like everything else I had been through it eventually got better. I made new friends, and lost those friends, and gained more friends! I was growing! As we grow our life changes. It’s a scary feeling at times, but its essential in life if we want to progress.

So if you fall away from your squad that at one point was goals. It’s okay. It’s okay to shed a few tears. It’s okay to feel confused, but most importantly, it’s okay for you to move on. Your life is like a book. The things that happen create the bomb ass story. Some chapters are sad and some are happy. But like a book, life has progression. In order to grow you must surround yourself by people who uplift you, inspire you, and fit your current situation. Just as some of your kindergarten friends aren’t your close friends right now, your high school friends may not always be your close friends. And maybe they will fall away and come back. Only time will tell.


4. You might want to switch schools or try something new

I’m stubborn. period. That’s what got me. I was so dead set on going to Embry-Riddle, that when the honey moon phase wore off second semester, and California started looking better and better, I was upset that I didn’t want to go to my school of choice any more. Remember that growing thing I talked about? Yeah, that happened. So what do you do in those situations? Well I chose to ignore my heart and ended up hurting myself even more, although I now have a much better mindset and I am much happier and wouldn’t change it for the world. My advice to you? Follow your heart. Do what your heart tells you is right.

Don’t be afraid to let your curiosity take hold. You only have one life to live, make the most of it. if your heart. If you’re heart is telling you to go explore the world, then go explore. If you’re heart is telling you switch majors, then give it a shot. If you feel like putting hold on your business or engineering degree to go join the circus then give it a shot! (My weather professor lived in a hippie van and played music for people around the world). You will have to work hard, incredibly hard, but honestly… it doesn’t feel like working. It feels exciting! (and pool drain scary) At the end of the day, following your hear means you won’t wake up at 45 years old hating what you’re doing because you never gave what you truly loved and wanted to do a chance. Following you heart and pursuing curiosity will lead to a life without the regret of, I wish I did that. No one want’s to die thinking about all the things the COULD HAVE done.



Now this one I did well. From trying out Greek life, going to parties, and venturing out of my social cocoon of GSTGIT (Gym, Sleeping, Scandal | Grays Anatomy| & How To Get Away With Murder) I had the THE TIME OF MY LIFE! I also got my work done and made the Deans list, so yes you still have to go to school. It sucks unless you’re doing something you love.

So stay up till 2am. Go walk the beach late at night. You have the freedom to do so! Do all the things you dreamed about doing while you were staring out of your window in high school. Live. Taste Freedom! You have to have fun if you want to stay sane in life. It’s a chance to unwind and forget about reality for just a bit. A chance to give yourself a break. This will allow you to come back a little more focused and tackled what ever is on your plate… LIKE A BOSS!


The purpose of my senior sessions is to inspire and pass on the knowledge I have learned that has helped me overcome the darkest of times. To help you reach your goals and for you to only have fun, but also capture your story. To start building the legacy of your story through frozen in time moments: photographs. Are you ready to start documenting your legacy?