My sister graduated from high school this week, and after going to her graduation party, her graduation dinner, and the always long and dreaded graduation itself, I've been left thinking about how different I feel now than I did two years ago when I was graduating high school. I am of course older, I think I might be wiser, I hope I'm smarter (given how much I pay for classes), and my fashion choices are definitely better (thank God). I look back at pictures or think back on stories and am certain there's absolutely no way I dressed or acted like that — I must have been sleepwalking or something. It must've been an invasion of the body snatchers — that person could not have been me. But then I think back on other memories and am sure they're from only a month ago when it's actually been years.

Summer two years ago, I still remember the start of college feeling like the start of my adult life, one of the hardest things I would have to do — probably the hardest up until that point. Now, being halfway through college, nearing the end, finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel reflecting off my skin, I realize that getting a job, applying my college education, and moving away from the confines of West Campus may, in fact, be immensely more difficult. Nevertheless, I firmly believe everything is easier with a roadmap, so for anyone graduating high school, here is a brief guide to what I believe to be the five most important guiding principles to starting college, in no particular order:

  1. Be nice to your roommate, if you're lucky she'll be your best friend.
  2. Find nice study spots like coffee shops or parks, it makes a surprisingly large difference - I have no proof that it improves test performance, I just know it improves feelings.
  3. Try new things, it could be scary, it could be fun - if you're lucky it's both.
  4. Call your high school friends often, just because people say you lose your high school friends doesn't make it true - prove those people wrong.
  5. Treat your friends like the Dynamos (from "Mamma Mia"), and love them forever.

College isn't too hard, it's just like anything else-- filled with ups and downs. You'll adapt, learn a lot, make friends, live cool places, eat cool places, study cool places, and it will be hard but a lot of fun. I'm hoping the same is true after graduating from college. You'll love it, or get your money back guaranteed! Just kidding, but you really will love it.