It all started harmless enough.
We were eighteen years old and on top of the world. Someone proposed toilet papering the trees and writing our class name on sidewalk chalk. That night, at least twenty of us (maybe forty?) snuck into the campus in the pitch dark.
I remember feeling uncomfortable when I saw a few boys with impish grins, carrying spray paint cans and tipping over trash cans. I remember running when the police car appeared, climbing the chain link fence, heart pounding, chiding myself for being so foolish as the red and blue lights flashed.
The next day, I confessed to being part of the shenanigans at school, embarrassed. My school responded with bountiful grace and I ended up with a fitting punishment: picking up litter after school.
Looking back, it all seems so ridiculous. Couldn’t we, as almost-adults at a college preparatory school, have found something better to do? Something – dare I say it – more meaningful?
Although it might seem “thrilling” to do something dangerous, it’s never worth it to defame property. Especially when girls in Nigeria are kidnapped for taking a physics test and there are teenagers all over the world that have no access to schools. Any way you look at – it’s not funny and it’s not right to damage school property.
If you’re a senior, here are some ideas for the “best prank ever.”
- If you must sneak on-campus, put a bouquet of flowers at every teacher’s door with notes of appreciation.
- Get to school early to pass out donuts to all of the underclassmen.
- Buy a book for every K-5 student at the elementary school down the street.
- Choreograph a flash mob to perform at lunch that honors the faculty & staff.
- Secretly fundraise to build a school in another country or to make renovations at your school (present the check at graduation).
- Do something to make the school more beautiful.
These are the kind of senior pranks that make the evening news – or that should.
Even if you don’t land an interview on NBC, your example is bound to soften hearts and start a chain reaction. Your action will make you proud – in the quiet kind of way that inspires confidence and greatness.
So go ahead and make your mark in the final weeks of school. Do it BIG. Say it LOUD. Let your legacy carry you – but not with spray paint, little cups of water, or even toilet paper. May your final message be one of gratitude. May you show with your final acts that you’re going to use this one small life of yours to do something remarkable.