Words to Grow By (student art)

Above: Art by Maya L.-S. '22

So it’s that time again—the last few weeks of the school year! College acceptances have arrived, commitment letters have been signed, and seniors are taking part in a slew of ceremonies and events to celebrate and honor their time in high school before they move on to their next step.

But in the midst of all the excitement and hustle and bustle leading up to commencement, we at Westridge like to take a moment or two to reflect on the journey that has brought our seniors to the moment when they will cross the threshold into their young adulthood, moving from one season into the next.

This year, our College Counseling team collected words of wisdom—or “words to grow by”—from Westridge faculty and staff to share with the Class of 2022. We wanted to share a selection of them below, and hope that you, too, will take a minute to reflect on the resilience, joy, grit, and determination that it takes to grow.

College Advice:
  • "Take all the weirdest-sounding classes, the ones you can’t believe exist, and also find out who the truly awesome professors are and take whatever they teach. Disregard the previous for any classes held at 8 am. Take literature classes, always, no matter your major. Take a studio art class. Be in a play or build the set. Take Psychology 101. Wear flip-flops in the shower."
  • "Believe it or not, you might change your majors several times, but you will find your passion. And everything leading up to that discovery will make sense in retrospect. The sooner you get comfortable with uncertainty, the more likely you will find your path."
  • “In the words of John Mulaney, 'College is like a four-year game show called 'Do my friends hate me or do I just need to go to sleep?'' There are some days that you might feel a little lonely, especially if you're far away from home. Drink water, get enough sleep, invite friends over, watch a comfort movie, call family, get something good to eat, and remember that there are people who care about you."
  • "Don't eat too much junk food only because you are too busy or want to save money—it's not worth it."
  • "Be honest (with yourself) about what motivates and interests you (versus what others are doing or saying you should do). Do good research about your opportunities and pathways in pursuit of what motivates and interests you. Ask thoughtful questions of your mentors and roles models. Also, always take good care of yourself—none of this matters if you aren't healthy in mind, body and spirit!"
Life Advice:
  • "Do not compare the choices you made to fictional versions of what you think would have happened by choices you didn't make since, as somebody once told me, 'The grass isn't greener on the other side, it's just a different shade of green.'"
  • "I read a poem in college that still resonates with me. The gist is, 'Only the people who risk are free.' Get outside of your comfort zone. The more you do so, the easier it will be. Those experiences will be the ones that help shape you. Everyone at this point in your life is just trying to survive. Try not to take things personally. Keep being involved. Don't wait to be invited, but invite people to join you."
  • "Failure isn’t failure, as you think it is. First, it’s inevitable. Second, it allows you to show grit. Third, it teaches you empathy."
  • "You are beautiful and should never doubt it. Love yourself above all else."
  • "Your journey will likely not be linear. Soak up the various twists and turns along the way. Trust your instincts, stretch your comfortable limits, and enjoy the ride!"
  • "First and foremost, be so very proud of yourselves. What you value now, may not be what you value at 22 or even 25. It's okay to have goals, and it's okay for those goals to change and shift as you get older. Remember to trust life's journey because it will all fall into place. Lastly, remember water, moisturizer, sunblock, and movement every day!"
  • "Remember that success and happiness are two different things; they must be pursued individually!"
Advice on Friends, Family, and Other Humans:
  • "An underrated method for choosing your major: think about the type of people you want to be around on a regular basis. One of the best parts of my job is hanging out with other history majors every day."
  • "Don’t be in a rush to make best friends immediately in college. It takes time to find people who share your same values. Don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation; if you’re feeling insecure, most likely everyone else is feeling the same way. This might be the connection that leads to your most cherished friendship. Ask questions, lots of them. You’ll learn more than you thought possible!"
  • "Invest your time in your relationships with family and friends. You don’t have to know what you want to do, just do what seems interesting and see where it takes you. Life is how you choose to perceive your situation and how you respond. Choose to perceive the positive and respond with grace and humility. Your legacy is how you treat others, so be a good human."
  • "Surround yourself with positive and supportive friends and cultivate those friendships. It takes work. Find a mentor. Explore, explore, explore."

Your journey will likely not be linear. Soak up the various twists and turns along the way. Trust your instincts, stretch your comfortable limits, and enjoy the ride!


At Westridge, we believe the college process should be exciting and collaborative (and dare we say, fun!). Discover our College Counseling program here.