Feelings of lasts accompanied by the Sumer before college.

the Memorable 'Lasts' experienced during the summer after senior year are nothing short of bittersweet

The summer after senior year includes many lasts that you can't help but notice.

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Some say that you don't know what you have until it's gone. In my experience that may be true for most of high school, and even most of senior year. However, when senior year begins to draw to a close and you can begin to taste the summer air, I find that most people become aware, even hyper-aware, that a lot of what they're doing, they are doing for the last time.

Everyone remembers the big lasts IN high school: last prom, last pep rally, grad night, graduation, etc. Most people get so busy in that summer before college with friends, vacation, work, family, and getting ready for college that those sweet last summer moments in your hometown go by so fast, and you can't help but notice when they do.

I am in that summer right now, and the only word that describes it is "bittersweet" It's the little things like when I'm shopping with my friends a few towns over and I realize this is probably the last time we'll ever be there - or at least be there all together. Even meeting a friend at a local coffee shop comes with the feeling that this improbably your last one on one interaction with said friend. Or it hits you when you're shopping for snow clothes because you moving to the east coast and you realize that in two months you will literally be across the country.

Sometimes you come to that realization when your sitting with all your family and through the kids screaming and running, the adults who are drinking, laughing, talking, fighting - it's hectic and overwhelming, but you realize that this is the last holiday you'll be here for probably until Christmas.

See the thing is, right now we are all making plans for when we come home for college but we know that eventually those "whens" turn in to "ifs". We are left with an unsettling amount of uncertainty. We say there's no way this will be our last beach day, but eventually, one day, it is. We plan on staying in touch with one another and plan to keep having experiences on our breaks but in reality breaks don't always coincide, people get busy, people don't come home, and eventually we say' keep in touch' but rarely do. I'm absolutely sure I will keep up with my closest friends, with social media, texting, and FaceTime , it's almost hard not to. That being said, our hangouts eventually turn from talking about the future of our ives, to explaining to each other how we our living that future. We go from telling our roommates and college friends about our old friends to telling our old friends about our current college friends. In no way am I being pessimistic that we'll all lose touch- I actually think we'll stay in touch but the relationship will be different. I don't think it' bad- just different. We become guests in each other's lives instead of everyday staples.

It's not always the experiences that bring about the awareness but also the places.Every place you go is tinged with that "bittersweet feeling" . Your family's favorite restaurant to eat dinner at. Sitting in that restaurant looking around, realizing you won't be back for almost six months. Trying your hardest to soak in the moment, to look around at the walls, the people, to smell the food and hear the chefs I the back, and to remember the feeling of comfort, sitting here with your family, the people that are supporting you as you venture off.

Even the places you don't go to that much bring about the "last" feeling because you have always had the comfort that they were there. Going to the lake near your hour the you occasionally go to, reminds you that soon, you won't even have the option.

All of the lasts are sad and hard to go trough. You want your last through months with your family, friends, and hometown to be happy and full of adventures, and they are- but each adventure is accompanied by the weight of "last". Though these lasts may be sad and difficult, they are necessary to pave the way to so many firsts, to your new life. How ever many miles you may be from your hometown doesn't matter because that town and those people shaped you into who you are now- and you will always have that with you. The joy and excitement of the firsts will be well worth the pain and sadness of the lasts.

My advice: It's perfectly fine to be sad. So many of us get caught up in wanting to seem brave or excited to leave but it's okay and it's normal to be a little weepy during your "last summer". It's okay to know how much you will miss everyone and everyone. While it's okay feel that, also think about how much fu you're going have. I know I will miss my town/family/friends and some days I'm pretty bummed about that but MOST days I'm so stoked about moving to college, starting the path to my career, moving in with my roommates, and just being in college. I have so much to look forward, in part because I have faith that what's behind me will still be here when I come back. So yes, this summer is bittersweet but just have faith that that the MANY and AMAZING "sweet" moments in your future will be well worth the "bitter moments" now.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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