When I was in high school, I could not wait to finally graduate after years of putting in minimal effort and getting into petty drama with my friends. I spent my entire senior year counting down the days until I moved into my tiny dorm room, practically daydreaming about being away from everything I've known my whole life. I told myself I would never have to see people I burned bridges with ever again, and I would get to my new school and start a new life. New year new me, right? Wrong.
It took me a while to get used to being away from home and meeting new people everyday, but I am finally used to my college. My twin XL bed is almost comfier than my bed at home, and I talk to my roommate every day when we go home on breaks. Being away from my small town for what feels like forever (it's been one semester!) has left me with a lot of time to rethink the decisions I made in high school and the way my daily life used to be.
I don't bother spending my time regretting things, but there are a few things I wish I did more before I left for school.
1. Appreciating your friends while you can see them everyday.
This is something I took for granted a lot. One of my biggest flaws is that once someone does me dirty, I vilify them and burn the bridge immediately. I've been in so many fights with my old best friends that I look back on now and can't imagine why we ever wasted time being mad at each other. I probably had the worst attendance in my entire grade, but when I woke up every morning my only motivation to get through the day was to see my friends. I miss having a solid group of people to make plans with and to do nothing with. Sitting at my old best friends houses are some of the funnest times I can remember with them. Through those four years, we got boyfriends, we started getting into different things, and finally we graduated and really parted ways. I still think about the close friends I had almost everyday and wish I could go back and apologize to them for my immature ways. The simple things you do with your friends while they're within 15 minutes of you are things you will come to miss once you graduate. So forgive your enemies and smile at them in the hallway while you still have the chance. Don't let your old friends be your old friends or even worse, just people you graduated with.
2. Spending more time with your family.
Despite the age gaps between me and my four older brothers, they have always been my best friends. Those little things like walking into your sibling's room when you're bored and just watching TV or playing video games will seem so desirable once you're away from home and start to miss them. Even though I miss my friends, every time I go home for break I look forward to hanging out with my brothers more than anything. When I find myself upset and far from home, all I can think about is how I wish I could run downstairs and hug my mom. Take the time to schedule a day with your parents while you don't have to strategically plan who you're spending your five day break with. Go out to eat with your siblings and reminisce on your childhood, then do all of the things you used to do when there was more time.
3. Thanking your teachers.
Before I graduated, I went around my school and thanked every teacher who has helped me out. I even went back to my middle school to see if any of my old teachers were there so I could tell them my plans for the future. Why? Because those teachers had a huge impact on my life. Teachers are involved in your life almost as much as your parents are - they become people to look up to, and most importantly to learn from. I struggled in a lot in high school with anxiety, keeping up with school work (even though I would do anything to have high school level work again!) and just getting out of bed in the morning to get there. There are so many amazing teachers who went out of their way to accommodate my weaknesses, push me to do better and remind me of my goals; I could never thank them enough for the way they impacted me.
4. Appreciating the town you grew up in.
I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone, yet I somehow thought it was a great idea to go away to school in an even smaller town. Here, you have to drive half an hour just to get to a Walmart and Taco Bell. Needless to say, I miss my "small" town where I could walk to the shopping center to get a frappacino when I got off the bus with my best friend. I miss seeing things happening on the news and feeling impacted along with everyone else in my town, because that was our town. The bagels on my campus will never, ever come close to the bagel shop in my home town where you couldn't walk in without seeing someone from school. So before you leave for school, take a drive around your town. Pop into those mom n pop restaurants and family owned businesses you've come to love over the years. You're going to miss them. The town that you've come to know so well, that feels like it's yours, is not going to feel that way when you go home again. (See: Franklin by Paramore)
Overall, I don't regret the way I spent my time before I left for school; however, I shouldn't have rushed leaving so much. Remember: don't count down the days, make the days count.
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around for a while, you could miss it." -"Ferris Bueller's Day Off"