You did it.

You graduated.

Now what?

You've spent the last several years of high school wishing for the moment you'll get to walk across that stage and put that chapter of your life to a close. Well those years are up and I'm afraid to say that the minute we walked across that stage, the future became a lot more real.

Four years later and we've become a completely different person than who we were the first time we stepped through our high school's intimidating doors. We've learned, loved. and unknowingly made a couple memories that'll last a lifetime. Of course, it wasn't high school without a few embarrassing moments and mistakes here and there. Remember when that mortifying thing happened and you honestly thought you would never be able to make it through the year? Well look at you now! Chances are that high school was the era of "firsts:" your first bad grade, heartbreak, boyfriend/girlfriend, time skipping school, driving, and everything in between. Yet even in the midst of both the good and bad experiences, I don't think we would have had it any other way.

Maybe high school wasn't "it" for you, maybe it was dreadful to wake up every morning and go to a place where you just didn't feel happy. Guess what? That's perfectly okay. Not a single one of us had the same exact high school experience and while some of us may occasionally sit and reminisce of those times, others may lock up the past behind them and look forward. No matter where we are in life, we'll always find that time to experience highs and lows, make new friends, and have a chance to learn more about our own self. Whether that be in college, the workforce, or anywhere our path decides to lead us on.

As good as it may have been, its over and like I said before, you graduated, now what?

What comes next is a whirlwind of new emotions. You'll feel nostalgic for your old group of friends and the feeling of being on top of the upperclassman hierarchy, or maybe anxious that you'll be at a brand new place where no one knows your story, but maybe that gives you a sense of relief to have a clean slate. You'll slowly start to be 100% in control of your life and actions and it can be both the best and worst thing of your life.

Use this summer to your advantage. Take up a hobby you had always wished to do, read and write and create, spend time with your friends and family, maybe take a road trip or two, try a summer job and save up for the future, take this long-awaited time and allow yourself to spread your branches a little.

For most of us it may seem like the rest of our life is already planned out: go to college, study hard, get a job, and be successful, if only it was that easy. Not to be a cliche but we really are only this young once and now's the time to live for us and give ourselves that stereotypical teenage movie life we've secretly always wanted to experience. So do it: have a bonfire, drive and get lost, spend the day at the lake, do all those things you've thought about doing. Next year will most-likely be a completely different world to you, whether you decide to stay close to your roots or uplift yourself to somewhere new.

No one can predict the future. We have no way of knowing where we'll end up in even as short as a year. With each chapter coming to a close, opens a new one filled with opportunity and potential. We'll form new relationships, change locations a few times, and even do things that would make our past selves shake their heads in disapproval. But you know what? That's all a part of life and while we may not realize it in the moment, these small and/or large changes will help define who we become as we step into the world of adulthood.

I don't know about you but as someone who barely graduated last week, I'm terrified. I'm a college bound student and the idea of leaving my mundane life behind and starting over is something I can barely comprehend. All my friends will be scattered across the state and texts and phone calls will become the new way of having them in my life. However, as terrified as I may be, I'm also counting down the days until I walk on to a campus with over 30,000 students and build myself up to be even better than who I was before. Maybe I'll join new clubs or make unlikely friends or even play in some intramural sport and I think that the fact I have the chance to do so will make all the eventual home-sick blues worth it.

So here we are, freshly graduated students who are eager to seek our the world in front of them and probably have no idea what's to come. If we're anything at all, call us nervous, confused, dream-filled, ecstatic, and all things eager. Because while we may not have a clue at what may lie ahead, it definitely won't stop us from going and finding out ourselves.