Let me preface this with a bit of my background to show why this is an important topic for me.
In April of my senior year, I had about five colleges to choose from. I also had a full scholarship from the Navy to do ROTC at the University of Washington. In the first week of April, I was offered an official visit to Brown University to tour the campus and meet students, which I did at the end of April. It felt like I had a plethora of options available, and I was trying to choose while also preparing for AP tests, finals, graduation, and working a job.
By May 1, I was suddenly medically disqualified by the Navy (therefore losing the scholarship), the offer acceptance window at nearly every other school closed, and I ended up accepting an offer at the University of Alabama, nearly 2,000 miles from home. For those few days at the beginning of May, I had never felt so lost and confused. I felt like I probably had a concrete plan at the University of Washington, and had even committed there, but that fell away in a blink of an eye.
I felt overwhelmed, unsure, and undecided.
As this year's seniors are wrapping up their final year of high school, preparing to commit to a college or go into the workforce, I'm sure many are feeling the same way. You're only 18, yet you're being asked to make a 4 (or more) year commitment that will likely dictate how much of your life unfolds. As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and perfectionism, this reality weighed down on me like an anvil. In all honesty, though, I see exactly why everything happened the way it did.
After a year of being so far away from home, I've learned a tremendous amount about myself, others, and what it's like to live in a completely different part of the country. I've learned lessons in patience, self-care, independence, and other attributes that I may not have learned if I had been closer to home. So, to high school seniors that may be feeling the same way:
It will be OK.
Yes, offers aren't final, life happens, and you very well may end up somewhere you never thought you would. Or, you may end up exactly where you dreamed. Either way, you will be given tremendous opportunities to grow as a person, find what you're passionate about, and hopefully, make some close friends along the way. As a Christian, I believe that God can use you literally anywhere, and I see how he has used me and taught me lessons at the University of Alabama.
So, cherish this last month of high school. Enjoy time with your friends, finish up necessary schoolwork, and have a blast at prom. Worrying about your future won't help it or change it. All you can do is your best, and if you do that, you surely will end up exactly where you need to be.