My advice to a graduating High School senior…

Senior, Senior outfit ideas and session prep, Seniors, Uncategorized

February 27, 2023

follow @kelleenhitephoto
Portrait photography in Jacksonville, and the surrounding areas. Specializing in amazing seniors, busy families, and fabulous brands. 
more categories
we're KHP
Senior Info

What I would tell my 17 year old self if I could go back…and my advice to the class of 2023

What I would say to my senior self\ Jacksonville senior photographer

** this is NOT me, but my 2021 senior mini me 🙂

Acceptances are coming in… decisions have to be made, and lets be honest, there is a lot of pressure and a lot of stress. I feel it all for you guys… and I remember it. Although, I think it was better back in ’93 when I graduated. We could RELAX {do y’all remember how that feels}. We could get a break {ahh the beauty of no social media}. And social time was where we were actually SOCIAL {we didn’t have a phone in our hand, so we danced, laughed and engaged}. A lot has changed in the 30 years since I graduated… but I still remember the excitement, the anticipation of freedom that was just around the corner. So, what would I tell me 17 year old self…

The top 10 things I would tell my High School senior self if I could go back in time…

#10 Enjoy this single moment… don’t rush for the next thing {college, work, prome, whatever it is} its coming for you, don’t wish the days away. Enjoy these last few months, take this time and enjoy the end of something you have worked so hard for. Take the time to to celebrate the accomplishments, big and small! Talk to people you never have before. Laugh as much as you can. DON’T STRESS THE SMALL STUFF. 

#9 Freedom doesn’t exist… yeah, I too thought going off to college meant I could come and go as I please… and I guess I kind of could. But, with freedom comes more responsibility, who will cook if I don’t, don’t forget to pay that cable bill for my apartment, get up and go to class, wash my own sheets… EVERY TIME. There is there great song by Janis Joplin and in it, she says “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose… “ I didn’t understand what it meant when I was 17… but I sure as hell do now! I know all those parents out there can relate!

#8 it works out…ALWAYS. even when its hard, even when its overwhelming, when you look back, I promise you will have found your way, and it will have been the path you were supposed to take. You will love your school no matter what it is. You will find your major and your career and you will get where you need to BE. 

#7 take time for ALL the friends…not the boyfriend or girlfriend, but the FRIENDS. You will never have friends again like you will in college, SAVOR them! They will be your PEOPLE for the rest of you life. Don’t waste a minute of time with them!

#6 The right soul mate person will find you and it should be easy… and it may not be in college, but that’s ok! Please see #7 and read it, again, and again. And then, maybe read it one more time for good measure.

#5 NOTHING IS PERMANENT… both the good and the bad. So ride it out. Laugh at the good, cry at the bad, and remember that only constant life ever gives you is that it WILL Change. But, you can handle it, no matter how bad it feels at this moment, its fleeting. You will find your way, you will end up were you needed to be. You are tougher than you think you are. When you look back at that moment you will be so proud of how far you have come. 

#4 Laugh more… and dance more {and I danced a lot}. Did I mention being 18 is GOOD. Did I mention the friends, and the experiences you get in that first part of your 20’s. They are amazing, and they are shaping who you are. Go find the damn JOY – laugh a lot and be crazy about the happy. 

#3 Go to all the events you can while you are in college. Every sporting event {heck most of them are FREE}. Try every sport, every event, all the things! You will never have that much free culture again! And those are the moments you will look back on and be so thankful for. I went to ONE basketball game at UF… my last day of grad school {how DUMB was that} and it was so much fun. Why didn’t I go to ALL of them?? 

#2 call your momma… and your dad. They worry. They love you. This is hard on them. They worked had to get you here, and they miss you. BUT, dont tell them everything. They hear the stress, they are worried about you… they cant solve all the problems and they WANT to. Wanting to protect you is something that doesn’t end just because you grew up and are now adulting. So maybe tell them like 60% 🙂

#1  98% of what you worry will happen will NEVER happen… and the other 2% works out fine anyways. LORD, if there is one thing, I wish I had known over the last 30 years its THIS. Work your hardest, give school, your job, your relationships 100% but let worry GO! Most of what we worry about we cant change and we waste some much time with it. Focus on putting the good out there, the positive, and believing it will happen… you know what, it will! 

I have learned a lot in these last 30 years since I crossed the stage at my high school… I think that’s just how life dishes it out. But I am thankful for all of those lessons, even the hard ones. Remember life is filled with lots of crap, but there is so much good too. Never forget the good! 

Now go enjoy those last few months of high school! Celebrate and appreciate where you are! You have plenty of time to worry about that other stuff! And Live in THIS moment. The excitement of it all! I promise when you look back, this is the GOOD stuff! Now go hug your momma, say yes to that acceptance and enjoy your last semester of high school!

I love you all class of 2023. Its special for me to think its been 30 years… hence the frame {IYKYK} and remember these words…

I’ll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(Like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you
(‘Cause you’re there for me too)

Love yall, and am so excited for where this path will take you! Track me down in 30 years, I cant wait to see what you did with your life, and what advice you would give your 30 year old self…


Kelleen Hite is a senior portrait photographer based out of Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida. Her goal is to create and amazing experience and revolutionary portraits so that every senior knows how awesome they are, and so that every parent can enjoy this fleeting moment. Kelleen is now booking for the class of 2024. To learn more about being a revolutionary KHP senior, click here.

  1. Brandi says:

    I love this list! I wish that we could have the knowledge we have as adults when we are teens. It would make life so much simpler. Don’t stress, it always works out! A lot of times it will be even better than you could have ever imagined.

  2. This is such great advice for graduating seniors!! I love the advice about freedom. Um…sure you can do what you want, but you also have sooooo many more responsibilities! LOL! I think we’ve all felt that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Planning Tips & tricks

Download Our
What NOT to wear Guide

So planning a senior session and wondering WHAT NOT TO WEAR? Well, we've got your covered! Grab our free guide for all the senior session details!



A guided process and loads of fun. An effortless and remarkable experience that gives you art you will cherish for a lifetime, and help you past that empty nest syndrome. Thats the goal of every KHP session, and we can't wait to meet you!