To the high school graduating me:
It has been only a year since graduating high school. One year. Some days it’s an extraordinary amount of time but other days it feels like only one month’s time has passed. I enjoyed high school, more often than not, and looking back I am at peace with the mark I left there. Moving onto university, I have seen incredible growth in myself, inwardly and outwardly. Like most of those going off to college, I had collected a bunch of thoughts, desires, fears, and wishes in the back of my mind as I looked onward toward my first year of college.
Now that I have lived through my first year, I have some perspective; the perspective of a first year, private Christian university student, living close to home, with every intention of getting a college experience likes those you see in the movies. You know the ones, you make a million friends that you stay bffs with your whole life, you write letters (maybe even have a pair of traveling pants) to your friends from high school that went far away for school, wear bikinis to pool parties rocking your most fabulous bod to show off to the frat boys, and you some how never really do the whole “school” part, i.e. going to class and taking tests part. So, this is for those of you who were me; a high school graduate who is beginning the journey into some of the best, worst, & experimental years of life.
Don’t resent your high school, don’t resent the people you’ve spent the past 4 years of our life with (or in my case 13 years…private Christian school K-12).
You are ready to fly; ready to get out of there and begin a new chapter in your life where you can recreate yourself, find who you want to be, and leave behind things you wish to never remember. That is all normal, but high school has taught you so much. From deciding who you have become isn’t who you want to be, or who you have become is the best version you possibly can be. It has taught you what good friends are and what bad friends are. You have learned how to get through hard times and celebrate the good times. You have seen failure and success. You have learned relational skills, how to deal with controversy, and the art of procrastination. You have fought to get here, inwardly, outwardly, or both. Your time in high school was valuable and those people you spent it with hold a piece of your history.
Come open minded.
All college experiences are different, and it might not be what you have dreamt up in your mind, and that’s okay. College is a time for new things; new people, new activities, new experiences, and a new lifestyle. Embrace it, don’t push it away. Don’t spend your first quarter trying to fight what may be foreign to you. Don’t shoot people down because they aren’t the type you hung around in high school. Don’t get angry at the different opinions of others because you’ve had the same thought process your whole life. Don’t turn down a night with friends because you are afraid something bad might happen. Don’t turn down opportunities to do relatively stupid things. Hello, is college. Who really gets out all 4 years without an embarrassing night, skipping class because there’s morning bar at 8am, getting a tattoo or piercing you never thought you would, deciding that not working out for 9 whole months is okay, or making a fool of yourself in front of your new found crush because you’ve been in the same small fish bowl of people for 4+ years and you completely forgot how to catch em. Just be open. You’ll find a greater expectance for people, appreciate things you never thought twice about before, be challenged in new ways, grow in all directions, and maybe even your outlook on life will change.
It’s okay if your roommate doesn’t become your best friend.
My roommate is great, she really is, I got super lucky. Are we friends? Yes. Are we best friends? No and that’s okay. Don’t have expectations, expectations only lead to disappointment. It’s okay if you and your roommate don’t braid each other’s hair. You will learn a lot from your roommate regardless if you are best friends or can’t stand each other.
Stop holding on to high school things.
Let go of what you did 2 years ago, let go of that friendship that ended badly, let go of that relationship that turned out ugly, let go of that person that bullied you, let it all stay in the past. Let the past serve solely as a learning tool.
Your relatively close friends in high school won’t become as relevant, and that’s okay.
Keep your long terms close, but it’s okay if other friendships fade, it’s part of life.
No one will no who you are and no one will get to know you unless you try.
Even at a small school cultivating relationships doesn’t come without trying. You will be just another student, people won’t pick you out of a crowd to be your friend because you are new and look lonely, you must take that initiative.
It is actually school.
You actually go to class, have tests, and are forced into group projects against your will. There are also finals at the end of your term which more often than not determine your grade for that class.
Get a job.
You will eventually run out of your graduation money and if you are anything like me, you’ll need a whole fund solely for your addiction to mac n cheese and Ben & Jerry’s half baked.
If you are in a relationship, you have to be okay not seeing them all the time.
Be at peace when they go to a different school than you, don’t distrust them unless they do something to become untrustworthy.
If you don’t, learn to see yourself through a new lens. There’s no better time to learn about yourself and who you want to be than at college. Through loving yourself, you learn to love others.
It’s okay if you don’t make a bunch of friends.
Be picky. Choose friends that make you a better person and enhance your traits.
It’s okay not to become vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, or an organic snob.
These things seem to be trends these days and just because you eat meat doesn’t mean you hate animals and just because you eat gluten doesn’t mean you are unhealthy.
It’s okay to have different political views than others.
Be open to hearing all sides though.
You will miss your pets.
Enjoy the time you have with them when you are around.
& lastly, the scariest thing of all, freshman 15 is a real thing…but don’t worry, it won’t stay forever.
You may try and fight it, but almost everyone gains at the very least 5 pounds, and that’s okay. Love yourself regardless and utilize the nearest gym if you feel negative thoughts entering your head.
This next year will be such a ride. Take it all in and enjoy every minute of it because you know how fast these past four year went? Guess what, these next four will go even quicker.
photo via the odysseyonline.com
all words and thoughts are my own.