It's OK If College Doesn't Feel Like Home

It's OK If College Doesn't Feel Quite Like Home

I can guarantee you that you're not alone.

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Going away to college is a funny thing. For me, it meant ending up at a four-year University that I was almost certain I would not attend. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Clemson fan through and through. But my heart always told me that I wasn't meant to end up there.

My mom went to Clemson alongside two of my aunts some odd years ago. They absolutely thrived there. They were both in tri-delts and knew every single girl that lived in their hall. There wasn't a party that went on in Clemson that these two didn't know about. They were unstoppable.

A few years later, my uncle went to Clemson and eventually, my older brother ended up there as well two years before I did. I felt like my family had established their legacy. There were so many stories for everyone to tell, and I absolutely loved to hear them. But, I felt like I wanted to make my own mark somewhere else. I wanted to have my own stomping grounds and my own neat places to brag about. I craved individuality.

As my high school career ended, I had a much harder time choosing where I wanted to go off to college than I thought I would have. I ended up staying home for a year and going to a local technical school while prolonging the inevitable. It didn't help much.

I applied to a number of places, and Clemson was one of them (obviously). See, I had never completely ruled it out. Even though I was afraid to live another four years in the shadow of my family's greatness, it was the sense of comfort that drew me to apply to a school I already knew.

I had walked the grounds of tiger town so many times. At football games, visiting my brother, friends who lived in the horseshoe, you name it. I loved Clemson. I just wasn't sure that it was the right place to call home.

And that's when I figured it out.

Where you go to college doesn't have to feel quite like home.

When you first get there, it's not going to. Somebody has got to give out the tough love here. It's going to be weird. There's going to be a new smell, a new air conditioner to get used to, and a new mattress that doesn't already have a cozy indentation of your body.

There will be new people, new restaurants to make your regular spots, and new sights to see.

It's going to be a whirlwind. You'll make it your own in so many ways. You'll find your favorite spot in the library to study. You'll find out which classmates to befriend for help with your statistics homework. You'll easily weave in and out of campus foot traffic in no time, and know which sorority sisters need to be avoided at all costs.

And you'll be okay. Even if all of this new knowledge and all of these new places doesn't feel like home. Because it doesn't have to. You can make a new normal for yourself during the year, then go right back to where your heart is happiest during the summer.

This time is fleeting. You won't feel like you're on this deserted island forever. You won't have to listen to 50-minute lectures that feel more like a 4-hour opera. You're going to grow. You're going to move on. You're going to always know where your heart is the happiest. And that place isn't going to go anywhere.

So, if it isn't your school, don't panic. It's not that way for everyone and nobody really is going to blame you. Because even the people who paint up for every football game still miss their mommies when they get a bellyache.

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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10 Pieces Of Advice From My Parents That Have Helped Me Survive This Thing Called Life

I don't like admitting that they're right, but they've helped me through more than they'll ever know.

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As I've entered my 20s and have made it halfway through college, I've learned that life can be hard and challenging at times. Like many kids, when I was growing up, I could care less about what my parent's advice or opinions were. Nine times out of ten, I would do the complete opposite of what they said. Once I got older and actually started listening to their advice and put it into perceptive, I learned that they're right more often than I'd like to admit.

1. Don't take things for granted

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I've learned to cherish what I have because I might not always have it. It's easy to take life itself and many things it involves for granted. They've taught me to take a step back from this crazy life sometimes and be grateful for all that I have.

2. Don't be afraid to put your heart on your sleeve

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My parents have taught me that if you feel something, don't be afraid to say it or embrace it. If you love someone, then tell them. Don't be afraid to put your heart out there just because you might get hurt.

3. Be vulnerable

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In life, in relationships, in your work. Take risks, get shot down, and then try again. Being vulnerable is scary yet so powerful.

4. You can never have too many shoes

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Otherwise known as it's okay to treat yourself. Life is hard, so take care of you. If that means going on a shopping spree every once in a while, then so be it.

5. You're going to be okay

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Whatever it is you're going through, you're going through it and you're going to come out on the other side. It may seem horrible now, but you'll learn from it and be okay in the end.

6. You have to have friends in life

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It's important to have people to lean on, especially on your bad days, and to celebrate with on your good ones. You can't just have you or a significant other to rely on.

7. Never be afraid to share your opinion

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Don't be afraid to put your thoughts and opinions out there because they might be wrong. They could have a huge impact on someone or something.

8. Don't stress over things you have no control over

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Everyone is on their own path, which means everything will work out the way it's supposed to, even if it doesn't make sense right now. Again, you're going to be okay.

9. Happy, healthy, wealthy, wise

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My dad always says if you tell yourself every day that you're happy with yourself or your life, you're healthy and strong, you're wealthy in love and surrounded by great people, and you're knowledgable or wise, then you can achieve anything in life.

10.  S*** or get off the pot

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My all-time favorite piece of advice. Making decisions can be hard and scary, especially if the outcome could be getting hurt in the end. So, you either make a decision and roll with it no matter the outcome or you walk away.

Thanks, mom and dad for always being a phone call away when I need it! Just know that your advice and words of wisdom don't go unnoticed. For others, your parents have been on this planet much longer than you have and most likely experienced the same situations that you're dealing with. They don't have all the answers, but they are there to help.

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