It's that time of year again. Freshman are moving into dorms, eagerly awaiting the first day of classes. Students are moving back to town, meeting up with friends and partying. After busy summers, everyone is ready to get back into the swing of things.
While this is all about new beginnings for some, for others it's bittersweet. Realizing this is my last "first day of school" is both exciting and terrifying. If you think about it, all we know since the time we are five (for most of us even earlier) is school, classes, homework, teachers. You move from Elementary school to Middle school to High school to college to the rest of your life? It's terrifying to know that something that has been a part of my life for longer than I can remember is coming to an end.
In thinking about the future, I've also started thinking about the past. What would I have done differently in my years of school? What advice would I give younger students? So whether you are starting ninth grade or a sophomore in college, here are a few suggestions I have about making the best of your school years.
Don't let FOMO rule your life.
Okay -- so to be honest, I didn't know what FOMO meant until about a month ago. So for those of you who, like me, are a bit out of touch with the lingo, FOMO stands for "fear of missing out." In high school especially, this was me. I was terrified if I didn't do the same things, like the same people, share the same opinions as my friends, I would be alone. I worried far too much about who was hanging out with who and what I was missing.
In college, this was also an issue when it came to parties. Everyone I knew would go to these parties and have such cool stories when they got back. I wanted so badly to be a part of that that I often would go places I didn't want to go with people I didn't really like. I was sacrificing my own happiness for the ability to say "I was there! I saw!"
Hard work in high school pays off.
The number of times I've heard someone complain about their current college standing or their inability to get into other schools, it's usually based on lack of motivation in high school. High School matters. It may not be the most important thing that gets you into a good school, but GPA's are hard to bring up. Even if you only did badly sophomore year of high school, that year can easily negatively effect your ability to get into the college of your choosing.
Honestly, at times it may feel like there's no enough time in the day to do everything. But it will be worth it when you don't have to worry about getting accepted to college.
Even the longest friendships may be lost...and that's okay.
School is the number one place we meet our friends. Maybe it's someone you have a class with or just someone that sits beside you. A lot of people get really broken-up when they realized they won't see their best friend everyday. I was friends with someone all throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school, yet we don't talk anymore. It's hard to watch those relationships fizzle. You just have to remember that you'll meet so many new people.
Don't wait too long to grow-up.
Growing up is possibly the hardest part about post high school grad life. If you decide to go to college, you're living on your own, making your own schedules, and food. There's no one to wake you up in the morning when you sleep through your alarm or to bring you medicine when you are sick. (Of course, we have friends that would gladly help, but no one to wait on you hand and foot).
The longer you wait, the harder the adjustment will be. It's okay to still live out your late teens/early twenties, but make sure once you hit junior year of college, you're prepared to begin fending for yourself. Don't get to caught up in the "fun" of college that you forget to mature.
This seems contradictory to the last point, but they do go hand in hand. Once you leave school for good, life changes forever. Enjoy the time you have now -- the free time to be with friends, living with your besties, participating in extracurricular activities, learning something new each day. While graduating doesn't mean you aren't able to do any of these things, they are a little harder to come by. Enjoy this time now because your life will never be like this again.
I'm both sad and ecstatic to walk the final stretch of my education, but there are also a lot of things I wish I would have done differently.
This time is precious. It's honestly something you can never get back. Treasure it and make the most of your time.