5 Things I've Learned the Summer Between High School and College

5 Things I've Learned the Summer Between High School and College

Life is weird right now.
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I was beyond prepared to graduate high school, overly ready to leave and start anew at the college of my dreams, but what I was not ready for was the awkward, in-between stage after graduation.

Once I walked across that stage, I quickly found myself in a summer unlike the ones of the past. For once, I was not going to head back to high school in the fall, slip into a routine consisting of 9 class periods a day, and carry on as I did for the past four years; this fall I was going to a brand new school, alone, and embarking on a journey with an unpaved path.

But I’ve learned some things during this weird time in my life.

1.) Graduation is just another day that goes by fast

One second you’re sitting in a classroom, the next you’re in a sea of caps and gowns. Suddenly the 3 am breakdowns while studying physics or those pop quizzes you failed, don't matter— because you’ve made it. You made it to the ultimate goal of high school, the pinnacle of your educational career thus far. So enjoy your valedictorian’s speech and your principal’s final remarks, because before you know it, you’re tossing up your caps with one hand, diploma in the other, officially a high school graduate.

2. I may never see some of the people I graduated with again

It’s dawning on me more with every Snapchat story and Instagram post from my fellow graduates, that I may never see some of my (now former) classmates again. I thought I would be 100% okay with this reality, assuming that getting away from the 88 other students I’ve shared four (or more) years with would be refreshing. Really, it just feels odd to know that social media may be the closest thing to “seeing” the people I’ve gone to school.

But on the flip side…

3.) I’ll meet a lot of people in college

As someone who comes from a relatively “small” high school, graduating from a class of merely 89 students, I wasn’t prepared to see that amount of students at my orientation. Additionally, I wasn’t prepared for the later realization that there will be even more kids on a daily basis as I venture around campus. On one end- it’s terrifying, completely daunting, and social anxiety-provoking, but on the other, it’s great, an opportunity to make new friends, and finally, a chance to meet people who share my common interests.

4.) I should’ve started saving money a long time ago

I’ve never been the most responsible with money and often end up blowing my paycheck on books and makeup. But seeing the bills come in, the cost of text books add up, and realizing the general expenses of living has inspired me to actually listen to what everyone has been telling me. Maybe college will finally kick my bad spending habits and impulsive midnight shopping sprees for good. Goodbye weekly Amazon packages, hello being a broke college student…

5.) It’s okay to spend time by myself

While it may be tempting to spend every second of daylight and every hour of darkness with your best friends before you’re all scattered across the map for your first semester of college- it’s okay to be alone. Even if you’re not as introverted as I am and do not physically crave the recharging that being alone gives me, sometimes alone time is necessary and completely valid. So don’t feel guilty for giving a rain check on a night out with your friends and choosing to stay in with a book instead, or locking your bedroom door and taking a five-hour nap instead of going on a date with your significant other. You deserve to have time to yourself and your friends will be there when you’re ready.

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There Is No 'Right Way' To React To A Shooting

Everyone is different.

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After the shootings this year in New Zealand, Brazil, and close to home for some of us Aurora, people have been reacting in different ways. With some offering their thoughts and prayers, donating money to help pay for the funerals of the victims, fighting for action in regards to ending gun violence, candlelight vigils basically anything that can help them in this time of grief.

There is no right or wrong way to react to a shooting — everyone grieves in their own ways. We should not judge one another for how we grieve in a tragedy.

People have been saying that thoughts and prayers won't do anything. However, maybe it can be a comfort to some people—a way to let people know that they are thinking of them and that they care.

Sometimes people may want to donate money or blood to help out any survivors who may have suffered from blood loss or create GoFundMe accounts to either help out with medical expenses or to pay for the funerals of the victims or even start charities like Islamic Relief USA. Donating your time and money is a good way to help out because you are making a difference that is a form of action you are taking.

There is also grieving in the form of vigils. One example of a vigil is this guy who makes crosses every time there is some kind of tragedy. Vigils are often a good way to remember the victims, to pray for the healing of the survivors, to talk about what they were like as people.

Some people even want to take action by demanding that the laws change a good example of this would be March for Our Lives, which happened after the Parkland shooting last year. This march was fighting for gun control or should I say changes in the gun laws America currently has.

Some people also do acts of solidarity, for example, wearing a hijab like the prime minister of New Zealand did when she went to go visit the Christchurch shooting survivors. My community college had something a couple of years ago called Hijab Day to help show solidarity with our friends. I participated, and it was quite an experience—no one should ever be afraid to be who they are.

There is never a right or wrong way to react, and no one should ever criticize one another for how they react. It's not a test where there is a right or wrong answer—everyone is different and that is okay.

No one should ever have to be afraid to go to school, go to work, or go to their place of worship or wherever they decide to go. Whatever we decide to do to make a change, as long as we are taking some kind of action, is good enough for me.

Nothing ever gets done by sitting around and doing nothing, so whatever it is you do, get out there and do it. As long as you are showing support it doesn't matter how you show it.

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