Being a senior has its perks.

You're at the top of the chain, you pretty much know how to get around your school with ease, and you're anticipating graduation. It's an exciting time filled with pictures, pending nostalgia and caps and gowns.

Whether you're graduating high school or college this year, it's important to keep certain advice in mind throughout your last year of firsts to both fully enjoy your time and savor the moment you're in. Cue the Semisonic and Green Day!

Be nice to the "lower class"...sometimes. When you've made it to the top of the social food chain, it's easy to want to stomp on those at your feet, figuratively speaking. Remember that at one point, that was you. While being a high school or college senior is a big step, remember you always still have more to learn. Cut the younger kids some slack for being annoying or overzealous because, remember, you did that once. At the same time, be sure to throw some advice their way, like not to eat public school lunch or to drink liquor before beer. You know, valuable life lessons.

2. Plan for the future. It should go without saying that because you're finishing one chapter of your life, you should plan for another. However, it's also understandable that you might want a break after four rigorous years. We each have our own stories, and what's easy for one person might not be easy for another, but regardless, it's important you continue to set goals for yourself. For some this might include college or graduate school; for others, this would mean a job or AmeriCorps or even just a post-grad trip somewhere. Have something to do, and keep setting the bar higher for yourself. It keeps life interesting, and it'll keep you fulfilled.

3. Participate. In high school, it's practically not even a decision to participate in events like Senior Week. Not all high school seniors want to deal with the face paint, football games and random ceremonies, but they should. Even if you have one friend to enjoy this with, make sure to do it, because life only gets more complicated from here, and as silly as Senior Week is, it'll be the end of carelessness. College seniors, it's a little bit harder for you but be sure to get involved in one senior event. It helps deal with the feeling of "the end" and makes it a little bit more lighthearted.

4. Reflect. Nostalgia might be the funnest part about being a senior. Look back on all the stupid things you've done in the past four years and telli yourself you won't do certain things again, like wear that horrible top you wore on the first day of sophomore year in high school or do whatever caused that enormous gash on your leg after a Thirsty Thursday junior year of undergrad. Think about the good and the bad while you think about the future because the only thing worse than that horrible top from sophomore year is making the same mistake twice.

5. Enjoy yourself. Remember that this is your final year. The planning, the hard work, the memories all lead up to graduation, and you deserve to enjoy yourself. Go out with your friends between SAT and GRE prep. Laugh a little bit during finals week because you'll break down otherwise. This year is the last chance you have to be a senior in high school or college, and there's no fun in being miserable the whole time. We each have our own idea of fun and enjoyment, and it's important to tap into that so the year doesn't pass you by and you find yourself without any good memories.

And while a lot of that might be perceived as common sense, time flies when you're the one experiencing it. Good luck and have fun, Class of 2014, and congratulations!

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