You're finally getting to that time — graduation. For those of you getting ready to head off to college in a few short months after the summer, I wanted to give you the advice I wish I could have gotten coming into college. College isn't easy for some people, and for others, it's a breeze. If you find yourself on the path that I was on, it can get a little challenging, but remember to love the moment while you're in it.
When you first move in, college seems so scary, yet so amazing. You have the freedom to do whatever you want — you can go out five times a week or stay in every weekend. When you get to dorms and finally finish moving in, keep your door open. More than likely everyone is in the same boat as you and itching to make friends, so keeping your door open will let people know that you're actively doing the same. You'll be amazed how many people stop in just to say hey for a little bit, and those people could become your new squad for the year. Although, remember not to limit yourself to one friend group.
I found myself in this position — staying in my comfort zone with the friends I made in the first week. You think, "I already have a great group of friends, why would I need more?" Not to burst your bubble, but I had to burst mine. You have only known these people for a very short amount of time. It may seem like they're the best fit for you, but you really don't know who they are. Luckily, I've made it through the year with my first friend group and we're still best friends, but I've also been lucky enough to make best friends outside of my hall. It's nice to have different people on campus that you're friends with; you can have the opportunity to meet a whole different crowd of people.
Do be careful with your heart. Whether that be with your friends or with somebody you're interested in. This is a new place for you, and it'll be easy to become very attached to people because you're all by yourself in a new place. Protect yourself before you defend others is what I've learned. As sad as it sounds, these people could end up not being in your life by the time you leave this place, so why waste precious memories with people that don't make you all that happy? If your gut tells you to end it, then end it.
Take care of your mental health. Most of the time, college students forget that college requires a lot more work than high school did. With this, your GPA might drop from your regular high school GPA. Give yourself grace. College is hard, being involved in college is hard, taking care of yourself can get HARD. Take care of yourself mentally so you can be the best version of yourself as possible. If you have to skip class to take care of yourself, then skip class. Your mental health comes first—without good stability, mental success cannot come.
Lastly, cherish every moment. I can tell you that my freshman year flew by faster than I could've imagined, and even though I had a fun-filled, exciting first year, I wish I would've enjoyed it more. I wish I would've left my dorm more or said yes to more new opportunities. Remember that college is all about finding yourself. Do what makes you cool, not what your friends find cool. There are thousands of people on campus that will support your passions if your current friends don't — follow that gut feeling.
The typical advice like "Save your money, don't bring so much stuff, yada yada…." is so overdone. We all know those little secrets of what to bring and what not to bring, and you'll figure that out. But college is your first foot into the big bad world, and things can go south. Make sure you take care of yourself along the way. You'll thank yourself for it later.