Here are some of the biggest things I've learned from being away from home.
1. Money drains, and it drains fast.
No matter how much you work over the summer, you're going to spend a lot of money, and you're going to be stressed about it. The good news is it's fairly easy to get a job either on campus or around campus. While you're spending a lot of money on things like food and Ubers, it's not impossible to make up for a lot of it.
2. You're going to step out of your comfort zone.
While being at college, I've gotten my ears double pierced, my nose pierced, and I've stepped out of my comfort zone in so many different ways. I've made so many different friends and have loved every second of it. There's a lot out there that helps you become more yourself. Sometimes in high school it's hard to be truly you, but once you get to college, taking risks and doing things out of your comfort zone is something you look forward to doing.
3. Things don't stay so rule-less when you go back home.
I know for me that going to college resulted in me thinking that I was able to do anything I wanted whenever I wanted to do it. When I got back home, I assumed that the same thing applied, but I was wrong there. I forgot what it was like to be even slightly regulated by my parents, and I wasn't used to them asking me where I was going or who I was going out with. When you go back home for breaks, things will go back to the ways they were before you moved into school, and it'll be a nice reminder that someone is really looking out for you.
4. Your high school friends will still be your friends when you go home.
Lots of people worry about drifting apart from their high school friends. I know that my high school friends are some of my best friends in the whole world and we are going to be friends forever. I sometimes worried that we would find ourselves in different places when we came home from break, or maybe some of us would be changed and some of us wouldn't be. But when we all came back and hung out, it was like nothing had changed at all. Your high school friends, if they're true friends, will always be there for you. It will feel like you never left them.
5. Needing space is OK, and even necessary.
At the beginning of the school year, I was going out almost every night and spending all my time with my friends. I realize now that it's really important to set time aside for yourself and to be aware of your own limitations. Having a strong social life is good, but being able to relax, sleep, and take time to be alone is just as important. Friends will be there when you're done unwinding and letting yourself relax after a long week. Don't be afraid to take a step back and take space to think and rest.