You're staring down the barrel that is the rest of your life. Graduation is just a short few weeks away, and college just a few short months away. You're excited and terrified and ready to move on. I was you, just one year ago (though it feels like a lifetime) and this past year since graduating has changed me more than four years of high school ever did.
I had my college experience planned out. I went shopping for the cute dorm room decorations and school supplies (thanks for putting me up with me in Bed, Bath & Beyond, Mom). I got a great planner, a Keurig, a cute backpack. I was set - I was ready to go. But I wasn't ready for college, and I'm here to alleviate your stress and tell you no one ever is. I don't care how many packing lists and "10 Things I Wish I Knew Before My Freshmen Year of College" articles you read. Nobody is ever fully prepared for college until you're thrown into it.
My freshmen year of college didn't go as I planned - not for better, not for worse, just not like I planned, and that's okay. Your first year of college is an eye-opening experience, and basically a nine-month long lesson on life. I came into college with ambitions, and goals for myself that I didn't understand wouldn't be as easy to maintain as they were in high school. That 3.8 GPA? College required me to study for the first time in my life, and though I knew it was coming, I was so not prepared, and that's okay. Cute pictures with my new group of friends that I met during orientation? I got one girl's Snapchat during orientation, and had one math class with her fall semester. We may have had three conversations ever, and that's okay.
The thing about your freshman year of college is that it's never what you planned - whether that is for the better or for the worse, but you have to take a step back and allow yourself to be okay with what did or didn't go like you wanted. You're probably itching to get out of high school, ready for college and late night adventures and the freedom and independence that college brings to you. Those late night adventures do come, but don't get down on yourself if you have to spend a Thirsty Thursday in the library studying for an exam in the morning, or if your Saturday night is spent watching Netflix because you have no plans.
College is exciting, and scary, and fun, yes. But the thought of high school was once exciting, and scary, and fun too. Don't be so quick to wish away this part of your life, because it never comes back.
So step back, and take a breath. Enjoy your last days as a high schooler and thank the teachers and coaches that made an impact on your life. Cry at graduation and don't be ashamed about it. Live life that last summer you have before the real world starts to trickle in. College is a road trip with a broken GPS, so let the road meet you as it comes. Have goals and ambitions and plans, but let yourself be okay if those plans change or even if they fail miserably. You get one freshman year of college, so let yourself live it.