If there’s anyone who understands the pressures and stressors incoming high school seniors face, it is those who have come before.

HSJ was able to catch up with some members of Hauser’s Class of 2022 earlier this summer to see what words of wisdom they would pass on to the underclass who is taking their place.

From self-care to living in the moment with determination and purpose, these recent grads say high school goes by in a flash so it is important to make the most of every moment and opportunity. 

Valedictorian Callie Swegman described her graduating class as “hardworking, creative and competitive,” however, the last months leading up to graduation proved to be the longest and most stressful of the entire four years. 

Determination helped the 19-year-old push through the difficulties, she says, and if there were anything she would advise incoming seniors about it would be to not put things off.

“Don’t procrastinate on assignments because you will definitely regret it,” she says. “If you’ve procrastinated to the point where it’s 3 a.m., then you have two choices: sleep or continue to suffer on the assignment. Choose sleep.”

Gabrielle Johns says her time at Hauser was where she not only grew up but was also able to figure out more about who she is as a person.

Having met her best friend at school, 18-year-old Johns says her time at Hauser offered her a great education taught by “amazing and caring teachers” and the opportunity to explore and “be a part of about every club offered.”

Johns says each year she met new friends as her schedule and classes changed and those friendships fostered a camaraderie that allowed for decompressing and mutual stressing as high school students are oftentimes prone to do.

“My advice to underclassmen would be to always try new things, even if you’re nervous,” she says. “Especially if it is out of your comfort zone. We only get to be in high school once, do the things that make you happy.”

And doing what makes one happy doesn't necessarily mean going with the flow. Jonas Fleenor says it is important to do what makes one's heart happy.  

When Fleenor looks back on his time at Hauser, he says he purposely took advantage of the opportunity to further his knowledge about computers. 

The 18-year-old intends to study computer science and says he received a lot of encouragement from his teachers to pursue his passions.

He admits it isn’t always easy to dedicate the time and focus to one’s studies that’s necessary for success, especially if striving to be at the top of one’s class. However, if you’re one who is prone to get tunnel vision, you should remain mindful and not sacrifice everything in the pursuit of what you seek, he cautions.

Fleenor confesses he may not know exactly what to expect as he begins classes at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology this fall, but he is confident his high school experiences have given him a good foundation from which to build.

“Even if I don’t have the greatest sense of what it is going to be, I at least know I can handle the classwork and social aspects that are coming,” he says. “Hauser did a great job preparing me for that.”

To the Class of 2023, Fleenor’s advice is quite simple.

“I think one important thing is to stay true to what you want to do, even if people want to push you towards something else,” he says. “If you are doing what you want to do, the people that matter will support you in that.”