­Senior year of high school is a roller-coaster. There are days when you want nothing more than to get away from your school, house, or even town. Then there are days when you can’t bear to think about leaving. This time last year, early in first semester, I had applied to all the colleges I had considered, and had received responses from all of them. For me, those letters were just the tip of the iceberg full of life-changing experiences.

You should feel proud when you get accepted to a college. Tell people -- no matter how much more put-together or smarter you think they are than you. Tell your teachers, after all, they’re the ones that helped you get where you are today. Even if it isn’t your top choice or one of the most selective schools in the country, be excited about the fact that an institution that looked through your grades and accomplishments thinks you are worthy to be a student on their campus. Acceptance, and not just the physical letter-in-the-mail kind, is a feeling worth cherishing. This is your first real-world experience of accomplishment.

If you are like me, deciding where to go to school is the first decision you have to make alone, and I had a love-hate relationship with that kind of freedom. Talk to your friends -- your real friends. People who won’t tell what they’d do, but what they think you should do to make yourself as happy and as comfortable as possible. You might find that these conversations you have with them during lunch or after school are the only things that calm you down during the decision process. And while we’re on the topic of friends, make an effort to plan gatherings that everyone can attend, even if you have to start convincing you parents weeks in advance.

Go to the events that your school plans for its graduating class, especially if you go to a small school. You all probably know enough about each other’s lives to be classified as a family anyway, so why not go and be reminded of all of the memories and experiences you’ve shared while also getting excited about (and more accustomed to) the future that lies ahead of you?

This may be the most difficult advice to take, but don’t get too stressed. Remember to look past the moment you find out your standardized test scores and the hours of anxiety leading up to making your housing deposit on your future college’s website. Make sure you make your decision for the right reasons because you are capable of becoming a successful and confident human being; and this process starts with an independent choice based on the consideration of all the facts and opinions in front of you.

Most of all, cherish the moments you have left, good and bad, because they’ll never come again.