This is really it, the time has come. The freedom you have been craving for so long has finally extended its hand, and will let you see the world from its point of view. A new life can be created for yourself as you part ways from the people that have surrounded you for the past 13 years of schooling. You could not be more excited to begin the next chapter of your life, but could not be more nostalgic, sad, and nervous to leave your old life and that high school family behind.
Looking back, as a soon to be college senior who is going to bed at 10 p.m. in order to be able to wake up for her summer internship, I can't help but think about how much has changed since high school graduation. Some things were to be excepted, but others I could not predict. I would roll my eyes at the teachers that told me that friend groups would split up, people would part ways, and most of all, that I wouldn't think twice about it in a couple years. As I am the oldest in my family, I had no idea what to expect. I was excited, but thought of college as merely an extension of high school where I got the chance to explore a new place, learn new things, and meet new people. Although this was true, there was so much more that I was not prepared for.
I want to share with you some of the lessons that I have learned that I wish I'd known my summer after graduation. The first, is to really cherish this summer with these people. Although it won't be the last time you see everyone, it may be the last time you see some people, and even when everyone gets together, nothing will be like it was your last summer together before college.
The second, is to go into school with an open mind towards all people and activities. Your roommate may not be your absolute best friend, you might fall in love with a sport you never considered pursuing, and so much more. Embrace everything, considering you may not have been exposed to such a variety of people from all different backgrounds, before. Everything is new for everyone, and you never know when you will meet an unexpected friend.
The third piece of advice I have is that school actually matters. Yes, I would 100 percent say to go out with new friends as much as you can in the beginning of your first year; however, always approach with caution. Whether you realize it or not, you are in college to learn and pave the way for a great career. Your freshman year GPA sets the baseline, and is very important, not to mention the importance of building relationships with professors and faculty, early on.
My biggest piece of advice is to follow your gut. Sounds cliché, I know. But only you will know whether you want to switch your major, try out for the lacrosse team, rush a sorority, go abroad for a semester (which I highly recommend), or run for class president.
If you are not happy with your initial experience, you have the power to change it and create the best life for yourself. And if you do this, if you push yourself, you'll really grow up. As scary as it is, ask anyone in my position if they think they are the same person as they were right after high school graduation. Their answer will be no. You have so many great years ahead. Make the most of them, and best of luck!