It's December. Half of the school year is over and you only have so much time left to enjoy your last few months of High School. The football games are over and you already attended your last homecoming dance. You're looking forward to prom and gradation, but what about after Graduation? What are you going to do? Have you complete your college applications? Picked a major? Visited the schools you want to attend? There's so much to do!
As someone nearing the end of her college career, of the most common things we heard when we were in high school was that "college is different than high school." And as a junior or senior in high school, it's honestly the last thing you want to hear. You're going through this process of making these huge decisions that 17 and 18 year olds are not ready to make. Trying to pick a major that you're going to be happy with so you don't have to change it four times! Trying to decide if you want to move away from home, trying to decide how you'll financially be able to pull everything off.
No matter how much you prepare and plan, you're never truly ready for that transition. Your senior year, you want to enjoy your last year with your friends before "real life" starts. What's even worse is if you're someone who honestly has no idea what you want to do with your life. You just can't seem to decide what you want to do and what your plan is.
Your last year of high school can be filled with all of this pressure with what comes next and so I'm going to tell you what comes next. But I'm also going to tell you about how college really is different than high school.
When I was in high school I was exactly where you are. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn’t know the process of applying to college or who I needed to talk to. I didn’t understand financial aid or the difference between tuition and loans. In high school, I played soccer and softball, was voted Most Outgoing, and was nominated for Prom Queen. I was an average student and had great relationships with my teachers. School was much more social for me than it was educational.
I didn't have any kind of plan for what I wanted to do next. So I didn't do anything. I didn't stress over my SAT's, I never visited or applied to any colleges. I simply just told myself I deserved a break and wasn't ready to make such big decisions.
You're probably thinking "OMG this girl is crazy!" And you're right. It was pretty crazy of me. But looking back now I don't regret a single thing. I spent two years working three jobs before I made the decision to go back to college.
I have plenty of advice to give on the college process. After two years of being out of school, three years at community college and a year and a half away from receiving my bachelors degree and I'm simply going to tell you this,
College is different than high school.
I wish I would have believed everyone who told me that. It is such a different environment and nothing like how you expect it to be. Even as a commuter I find something new that I love every day. Maybe that love comes from taking the time off, but I truly love college.
The professors are different, your classmates are different, and there is so many ways to get involved. No one will judge you for sleeping in your car or for wearing pajama pants to class. Most people are super willing to help you out and are are really understanding.
Sure, some people are there to slack off and they don't want to be there. But the college experience is what you make it and if you spend time with people you like and study hard, all of this pressure you're under now will be so worth it.
When you're there, get involved! Go to sporting events, join clubs, and do all of the little fun things they plan on campus because you're paying all this money to go there, so you might as well enjoy it!
Make friends with a lot of people! Spending time with people who are different than you will change your life! It is also during this time that you learn more about yourself and figure out they type of person you're meant to be! It is a time for new beginnings, self exploration, and just learning in general! it is your first step towards adulthood and while that may scare you, you'll find that it starts to come naturally!
While I'm writing this to talk about college, I want to say another important thing. While I love college, it may not be for everyone! So please don't even be discouraged with the path you choose to take. Maybe you'll take some time off like I did. Or maybe you have a great job lined up already! Maybe you'll go to a trade school or join the Military! Do whatever it is that makes your heart happy and do not give up! And never forget there is no shame in changing your path or deciding to go back to school later on in life!
So as you're going though your last year of "being a kid" remember these things. Always keep your head up and push through, even if its 3AM and you have two more pages of that 13 page research paper to write. Always strive for greatness and do the very best you can! Your GPA is important but not as important at your sanity, so take a study break and go to the movies with your friends. Most importantly enjoy yourself and remember how you'll look back on these years and how you'll be so proud of yourself!
Congratulations on your upcoming graduation and good luck with whatever you choose to do!