High school was a hectic ride. For a lot of people, it was the best time of our lives. For others of us, it was a time we don't ever want to go back to again. But once you have received (or will receive) your diploma, you will never be able to look at high school the same way that you did while you were a student there. You don't have to be in college to know that moving forward from a familiar pond to the open ocean can be a rough transition, but it's necessary to help you grow. Here are five signs to know that you're currently going through this process.
1. You constantly feel confined.
Whether you grew up in a town that nobody heard of or you're from a metropolitan area, you probably feel very antsy to move out of your home. Taking a stroll around your favorite park doesn't feel so rejuvenating anymore. You don't have as big of an appetite when you visit your go-to restaurant. You envision walls surrounding the borders of your home, closing in as you try to break out, but ultimately fail. Take one step at a time. You're not completely prepared to face the new world yet.
2. Nobody wants to hang out with you.
Or at least that's how it seems. If you were like me in high school, you weren't invited to many outings with your peers and you took advantage of the social gatherings that you were invited to. But now that high school's over for you, some connections you have built might not be as strong as time goes on. Don't worry. That's supposed to happen. You're starting to realize who are your real friends and who was just being "friendly" the whole time. Don't cut off those people, but move on instead.
3. You have too much leisure time.
Now that your responsibilities don't lie within studying for standardized testing anymore, you're wondering what the heck you should do with your life. You're probably spending more hours of the day in your room than being with your family, but don't let that discourage your from occupying your time with something else. That new season of "Game of Thrones" can only sustain you for so long. Read an intriguing book, visit a new bakery or coffee shop, or take a trip outside your hometown. Doing nothing for too long can be detrimental.
4. You're actually OK with doing household chores.
If your mom ever told you to wash the dishes or your dad ever told you to take out the trash, the first thing that came across your face was a look of disgust. Then you tried to use homework (which you procrastinated on anyway) as an excuse to not fulfill those obligations. But you're starting to realize that your family can't sustain you forever. As much as you hated "adulting" in the past, you're starting to take it more seriously. You might even apply for a job that requires doing familiar chores. Living well doesn't come at an easy price.
5. You've experienced an awakening.
And I don't mean the "realizing you're in your bed" kind of awakening. You're becoming aware of so many things that you couldn't understand before. You're developing a sense of empathy. You're recognizing open-minded stances amidst hard-hearted bias. You're living for something more than the temporary material pleasures. You're imbibing all the surrounding chaos and doing your best to demonstrate love. The world and life itself are bigger than you can possibly comprehend.
Unfortunately, not everyone you will meet has moved on from high school. Instead of leaving them out, be an example to them. Our journeys are just beginning to unfold. Go ahead. Keep moving forward.