As the last few days of high school inched around, aside from senioritis, the anticipation of graduation and college grew by the day. There was no more need for summer reading or eight straight hours of learning, and I was more than ready to start anew. Like every summer, it flew by way too fast and now I'm sitting here with less than two weeks before my move-in day to Baylor University (Sic 'em)!

I packed my summer up with rigorous swim practices, new things I've always wanted to try, and I spent a lot of quality time with my quality friends and family. Needless to say, I naturally lost track of time. As I stood over the pool in the midst of coaching, something that wasn't the hot summer heat hit me… a pang of sadness washed over me. Suddenly, I started sweating through my eyes (crying? No, I promise it was just the Houston heat.) My dad wondered if I got fired from my job since I came home from work sobbing (No worries, I didn't get fired).

Truth to be told, I was sad about leaving for college. It all seems like no big deal when you say it out loud because it's a normal thing every college student faces in the beginnings of their transition. The realization hit me, I'd be leaving what I've known my whole life. My friends and family all away from me while I start fresh in a whole new environment. To me, the thought of it was overwhelming. The darkness of the uncertainty of my future, whether or not I'd be able to connect well with my new friends, and even how connected I would be with my really good friends from home.

But here are some thoughts that have really helped me through accepting the change that's yet to come:

Whether you'll be two inches away, or even two thousand miles away, your family will always be with you despite the distance. You might not even realize how much you have picked up from your family through your everyday life (the habits or the lessons), just know that they're always a part of you. No matter where you go in the world, you'll always have a place to call home. Your relatives will always be a call away for when you need help with taxes, quality life advice, or some loving words from mom and/or dad. When your significant other breaks up with you or you've lost some of your closest friends, turn around and your family will be there with open arms through thick and thin. Remember that they are always one call or one visit away. They will always make time for their precious baby child.

Your real friends will keep in touch with you. It may not be every day, but when breaks come along or when both of y'all have some free time, you'll be able to catch up with one another. With distance, your time with them will be a lot more meaningful when you meet up again. Think about all the topics you can catch up on! How amazing would it be to see how much the both of you have grown? Remember, they are also one call or message away too. However, sometimes distance and business really may drive people apart, but realize that that's just part of growing. There may be cases where you may not feel like the effort is being returned.

However, understand that as you're growing, so are the people around you. As others begin to make new friends, so will you. It's a popular saying that you find your lifelong friends through college and beyond. Unlike high school, you're not as confined with the same people every single day. As you're on the journey to discover who you are and what your passions are, you'll make some new friends along the way who will help you learn more about yourself and even help one another on your ongoing adventure. Do not be afraid of finding new friends and putting yourself out there. If you care about your close friends and if they care about you, there will be a lot of effort involved and there will ALWAYS be a time in the future where you can connect back together.

If we stay in the same setting, or in the comfort zone we've always known, how else are we going to develop and grow into the people we are meant to become? Realizing that you're about to encounter some change is the first step, accepting it is the next. Once you start to accept it and let loose over your fears, the process gets that much easier. Take advantage over the new area you're going into, and explore. Branch out to meet new people, try new things. If you end up not liking it, it's not a waste of your time. It's part of discovering what you do and don't enjoy. The world isn't designed to fit all your desires. You are designed to find your desires and passions, and pursue it.

You're old enough to make your own choices now. You're not obligated to do anything you don't want to do. You shouldn't do things that make you uncomfortable, but you should step outside of your comfort zone for new experiences and take the opportunity to learn and grow. Nothing from here on out will simply be handed to you. It requires effort on your part to go out and explore the rest of the world to find your crowd or your final destination.

Growth isn't always supposed to be comfortable. If everything were comfortable, where is the thrill of accomplishing challenges? Where are the lessons that need to be learned? Take a seed, for example. It's buried in the ground in the dark. It must be willing to accept not being a seed anymore by accepting the water that's been given so it can finally start sprouting. Then, it must emerge out of the soil from the darkness it's used to, into the sunlight in order to receive the proper amount so it can make its own food. There may be some weeds or pesticides that get in the way, but eventually, it grows higher and higher, turning into whatever it's meant to become. Of course, there are more complex, different contributing factors for humans, but one thing both seeds and humans have in common is that they're both meant to grow.

Confidently go off to college, accept the change, and hurl through the many obstacles along your way. It's all a part of God's Plan (—Drake) in becoming the beautiful plant you're meant to become. And know that you're not alone.