I graduated from high school just about a year ago this past week. Seeing all of the pictures and posts from this year's crop of graduates from my high school, it made me reminisce on the past year and everything that I took away from high school, especially now not being a part of the most recent class of graduates. I thought I learned a lot about high school while I was actually there as a high school student, but so much of what I know now has been accumulated since I last walked through those halls.

One of the biggest differences that I noticed is your group of friends. I was lucky to keep my same group of eight girls throughout the last year, and our group chat is as alive as ever. We still hang out, though we haven't had too many occasions to hang out with our whole group; normally, it's in fragmented groups or there are some people missing. However, there's also the changing dynamics for each member of our group with their own friends from school. Now, everyone has their own stories and inside jokes and references (which is so awesome) that does have some impact, which is something I wasn't really expecting.

Now turning to actual things I learned in high school, I'm so fortunate for the education that I received from my particular high school. When I took some AP classes in high school, I knew that they were advertised as college level classes, but I didn't really appreciate the preparation I was getting. Over the course of my freshman year, there was never too many instances when I felt that I struggled too much, and I credit a lot of that to the classes I was able to take in high school. If you have the opportunity to take an AP class or two, I highly highly recommend it to anyone willing to work hard and get the utmost preparation for college.

Another thing I've learned is that often times you hear people describe high school as "the best four years of your life." Hey, for some people who might've peaked in high school, that might be a great description. However, for myself and many other people I know, high school is just the beginning of what will hopefully be a long life with a lot more excitement and success than just what high school brought. Just moving on as a high school senior to a college freshman gave me so much more freedom than and opportunities I had previously experienced. So, if you didn't have that great of a high school experience, don't worry — this is just the beginning of an awesome roller coaster ride.

Of course, there are some things that I miss about high school. Seeing my sister, who will be starting her senior year of high school this fall, go through all of my favorite parts of high school, like prom and DECA and everything else, does make me wish I could go back and do it all again. However, like I said in the former paragraph, you don't want to peak in high school as you'll have so many chances for more exciting and interesting things than you ever could do in high school.

For this year's class of graduates, congratulations — I can't wait to see what you all do.