Looking through my Instagram lately, I cannot help but think of the day I graduated high school. It feels like just yesterday; then I think about how in less than 365 days I graduate college, something I never pictured happening when standing in my white cap and gown accepting my diploma before embarking on what I didn’t realize would be a completely different journey: college.
I remember completing finals and walking out of the high school, thanking God for getting me out of the walls of MHS, going through practice rounds of graduation, class day accepting awards and scholarship night, accepting awards for the expensive colleges that we would all be going to, and throwing all of our caps in the air — not thinking hard enough about the fact we would never be together as a class again.
So, to all of you that just walked across the stage and accepted you diplomas, do things differently than me and my friends did.
1. Spend the summer with your friends, and promise that no matter what happens you will stay in touch during college.
Many people say that high school friends are friends that you are forced to have not because of similar interests but because you live in the same town; sometimes that is true, but other times you do meet friends that are meant to be in your life, if you both try it will work just like any other relationship. You can work the rest of your life, so spend some time with your friends.
2. Explore where you are from.
You have lived there your entire life and you probably found yourself driving down the same roads to the point where you could do it with your eyes shut, but explore some different places; maybe beaches you have never been to, restaurants you have never eaten at, and watch the sunset from a different location. The past 18 years of your life you may think you have seen it all, but the truth is; there is always more to see. You will take advantage of what you see until you go to college and there is a whole different view.
3. Spend time with your parents.
I know in high school your parents embarrassed you, but spend time with them before you leave, and every time you come home for break. Your parents helped you get through high school and survive everything that was thrown your way including projects that were due the next day. Your parents supported your every move; they were at award ceremonies and your sports games. Life goes so fast; you will be away at college and then staring your own life, you will never have the amount of time to spend with your parents that you do in high school, so please, for me, make sure that you have dinner with them every so often, thank them for all their help, and tell them that you love them.
4. Explore other majors.
When you go off to college take a few classes that are not in your major, explore the different opportunities and give yourself a new view of what those around you are studying. There is no better way to understand what others do that to experience it yourself. You don’t need to love the class, you don’t have to take another like it, but gain some experience — it will help you in the long run.
5. Do not force friendship.
Don’t force a friendship with your freshman year roommate; you will make friends, I promise. If you become great friends with your roommate, good for you, but too many people do this and end up in a rut. College is filled with so many different people, it may take some time but you will find friends that are more like you than you imagined, and friends that will support you, and challenge you all at the same time.
6. Be a loyal friend.
Spend time with your friends, and don’t do anything you would not want done to you; friends are forever and boys are temporary. One of your friends ex’s may be cute, but remember what he did to your friend — why would you want someone like that in your life? You shouldn’t, even if he is the guy every girl likes. During these four years you need someone by your side; boys may come in and out of your life but don’t forget about spending time with your friends, because there is a good chance you will not marry that man.
7. Have fun, but be safe.
Have a good time, go to parties and make a few questionable choices, but be careful. Everyone has been the drunkest girl at the party, but that isn’t something that you want to happen often. Take care of yourself, and know your surroundings; although you are a good person, it does not mean that everyone else out there is. Bad things happen and your family and friends would hate to know that you were the victim of one of those incidents. I know that I sound like a parent, but after three years of college, I can tell you bad things do happen.
8. Live in the moment.
College is an amazing experience, between classes, living in a new place, new friends, and new experiences. I am so jealous of all of you for starting at the beginning. I would do anything to go back to the first year of my college experience. I hate thinking that after this year it is all over. College is challenging, but I wouldn’t trade that or the amazing life altering experiences for anything in the world.
So, congratulations, good luck, and I hope that after I make it through all the cap and gown pictures I start to see pictures of you all acclimating to your new schools.