5 Things To High Schoolers Anticipating That Looming Transition To College

5 Things To High Schoolers Anticipating That Looming Transition To College

Here’s what I’ve learned from my first semester of college.

After one semester of college and a round of finals, I realize now that all those campus tours were terrible representations of what college is like and that I spent hours asking all the wrong questions. Of course, it’s important to anticipate what friends you’ll make, what clubs you’ll take part in, or how the food and living conditions will be. But since everyone is in the same boat as you, it’s fairly easy to find people to hang out with and after a month, you just accept that the crammed dorms and sub-par food is your new reality. That kind of stuff comes a lot easier than expected. Instead, here’s a list of what to actually consider before entering campus grounds:

1. Your friends in college will be different than your friends in high school.

While it may seem obvious, this particular fact hit me pretty hard. Whether you want to escape your current friend group or you are like I was and want to find a group just as great, it’s important not to set up too many expectations. Don’t expect to find friends better or just like the ones back home. The people you meet in college will likely have different mannerisms, different traditions, and different personalities. Being part of a brand new group of people takes effort and compromise, and it may take a while to learn where you fit in it all. You can’t expect them to fulfill everything that your high school friends did or rely on them to respond the same way. Instead, learn to embrace their differences and to enjoy the unique parts about them. I am constantly expanding myself and broadening my perspective because of my friends here and have realized that a shift in viewpoint is exactly what I needed.

2. That independence you are looking forward to also has baggage.

While most people are more than happy for the change and new beginnings college has to offer, I think they forget there’s truly no going back even if they wanted to. In reality, the transition from high school to college has a lot heavier effect than expected. It means sleeping through 8:00 AM classes and noticing how no one really cares that you’ve missed out. It means getting sick and having to set up your own doctor’s appointment. It means going home for Thanksgiving and realizing that from now on, you are just a temporary guest. It means that despite all of the new people you’ve met, you still are the only person you can rely on to hold yourself accountable.

3. There’s no need to put on an act.

Everyone has to go through a couple bumpy months of trying to figure out where to fit in or how to manage time. That might mean walking into the wrong classroom, taking the wrong bus, or having to use Google Maps constantly. There’s no need to put up an act and pretend you have everything figured out, because I guarantee there will be others just as clueless as you. There is also no need to put on an act when it comes to meeting new people. Of course you should adapt and have an open mind, but don’t lose yourself or compromise your character because of it. It is so vital you don’t portray yourself to people in a way that you will regret a few weeks later. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a friend group who doesn’t actually know who you are.

4. You only move forward from here.

In many ways, going to college is like being a pathetic baby bird getting thrown out of its nest and forced to open its wings to figure out the whole flying thing. Or maybe it’s like driving a car and looking out the back window watching your home get smaller and smaller, except the car never turns around. You’ll feel yourself growing farther away from the person you were and getting more comfortable with the life you have made for yourself in college. While the independence and freeing environment of college is amazing, it’s hard to grasp that you’ve outgrown your home and are being weaned off the security you found in it.

5. You’ll turn out okay.

Going to college means being able to dress and act beyond the status quo set in high school. It means sharing viewpoints and perspectives with diverse people who have unique cultures. It means being surrounded by an environment of people eager to learn and grow right alongside you. It means finally being able to spread wings, take risks, and pursue life in a way you couldn’t before. Since going to college, I no longer feel like my every action is being judged and analyzed, or maybe I just don’t care anymore. I’m doing things to better myself and learning to live my life unapologetically. I am constantly gaining perspective and being challenged about what I think and the way I think about it. Because of this, I believe that leaving the security of my home was the best thing that could happen to me and I am confident it will be the same case for you.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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A big part of being happy is having the right perspective on things. Recently I was telling someone that I took something out of my life, her response was that I was never taking anything away from myself but rather I was freeing myself from something that brought me pain. When I heard those words, I instantly changed my perspective on so many things.

Too often we hold onto things that bring nothing but negative energy into our lives. When we choose to free ourselves from all of these things that hold us down, we can have such a better outlook on life. We can waste so much energy caring about things that will one day have no impact on our lives. Instead of continuing to let these things have a hold over our lives, we need to look past everything that's wrong and see everything that is still right in our lives.

Negative people and events will always come and go throughout our lives, but they should never change our outlooks. We have to remain positive and choose to see everything good that is still going for us. There is always so much to look forward to.

Staying positive can sound so cheesy and useless when you're having a low point, but it really is the key to having a better life. If you choose to look at all of the negative going on, that's all you'll see. When you change your perspective to see all of the positive things in what you do in life, you will become much happier.

It's hard to see the positive in every aspect of life, but most likely there is one. Every situation helps you grow as a person and there is always something positive to take away.

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