To the senior prepping for her last semester of college, the freshman who's just beginning this crazy adventure, the high schooler trying to make a college decision, and everyone in between — take a second and listen to me: stop looking forward and start looking around. This is your life.
I'm beginning to realize that life is a funny thing and time passes whether you want it to or not. The Earth continues to spin at the same speed whether you're falling asleep in BIO 101, out for a night with your friends, or spending an entire day watching Netflix in bed. Time never moves faster or slower, despite how it may feel, or how much you may want it to. We can't freeze the good moments, and we can't fast forward through the struggles. All we can do is try our best to be present during everything.
I don't mean present as in physically there, but present as in fully embracing the moment. Quit checking your phone every three minutes wondering when you can leave and stop counting down the days to graduation. You're going to miss this when it's gone. It's great to have things to look forward to, but it's not okay to disregard the present in the meantime.
I vividly remember sitting on the floor of the hall of my beloved high school four years ago on my last day. Anyone who knows me knows I was so excited to leave. I posted a picture with a cheesy caption along the lines of, "I can't believe these past four years flew by as quickly as they did! On to bigger and better things." Someone quickly commented and said, "Just wait, college goes by even faster." I shrugged it off because honestly, high school felt like a drag.
I couldn't wait to graduate high school. I rushed through that stage because I was so anxious for the next one and I forgot to appreciate the little moments and people along the way. Now, I can count on one hand the amount of people I'm still in contact with from high school and, to be honest, it's a little disappointing. I didn't appreciate my people when I had them and I regret it. So, I vowed to be more present during the next chapter of my life and I urge you to do the same.
Your move in day will come. Inevitably, so will graduation day. And move out day... You'll go on that vacation you've so desperately been waiting for and you'll be reunited with a friend who you greatly missed. All of these things will come...and go. If you choose to focus on events instead of moments, what will you have to remember when all is said and done?
Breathe it all in, write it all down, and maybe even take a picture or two. It'll last longer, right? To be honest, the future can be scary, so why stress about it right now? I promise it will come when it comes — one day at a time. We still have time to be kids and make mistakes right now. No one expects you to have your life totally figured out yet, so don't try to.
Embrace the good, embrace the bad. Appreciate crazy dinners with your family, the conversations with your professors, the ease of being able to run across the hall to your best friends. Your life won't always be like this. You won't always live at home, you won't always live in a dorm. Your metabolism won't always be able to handle midnight Taco Bell runs.
Have a plan and set goals, but don't fixate on them. Trust the process: after all, you won't be able to get to the future unless you can get through the present.