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.