As someone who just graduated high school and is off to college in the fall, I have learned a thing or two that everyone else failed to mention as I prepared for my senior summer. Over the last few months, I have compiled a list of five secrets I want to let you in on if you will be graduating soon. Trust me, you'll need all the advice you can get to navigate this crazy (but exciting!) time in your life.
1. The college emails don't stop.
All those messages from obscure schools that somehow got your contact information? They won't stop, so start unsubscribing now. Also, you will start to get approximately five emails a day from the college you enrolled in, only one of which will even remotely apply to you. Read them anyways — you never know what forms need to be filled out and what fines need to be paid. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Memorize your credit card information.
You'll need it a lot if you're embarking into the world of higher education. When I enrolled in college, I thought public school meant writing fewer checks (both literally and metaphorically). I couldn't have been more wrong. There seems to be a new fee every week (and lots of paperwork to go along with it — maybe memorize your social security number while you're at it).
3. Finding a roommate online is incredibly stressful (but also incredibly fun).
Unless you're rooming with someone you already know, you will be no stranger to the potential roommate biography. Whether it's on Facebook, Instagram, or the housing portal, you will spend days, weeks, or maybe even months scouring post after post about your fellow classmates and their likes and dislikes. It's kind of like Tinder on steroids, and you get good at reading between the lines very quickly. Saying your favorite television show is "The Office" or that your favorite artist is Luke Bryan paints a much broader picture of your character than it probably should. Similarly…
4. Get ready to be judged.
First impressions can be everything in the world of social media. Make sure there's nothing online you're too embarrassed about because old Instagram posts from middle school can make it very easy to judge a book by its cover. The archive tool is your friend. Even if people aren't evaluating your prospects as a new friend, they want to get to know you through the way you present yourself online. Make sure your quirky Twitter posts are a good representation of who you really are, not a person you're embarrassed of or a person you're pretending to be. And, finally…
5. Don't get lost in the future and forget to enjoy the present!
Okay, people have probably mentioned this one to you, but I cannot stress it enough! Not only does senior year fly by incredibly quickly, this will likely be your last summer of life the way you have always known it. Obviously, it is important to plan for college in the fall, to get a job and save some money, and to get excited about what lies ahead, but don't forget to spend time with your friends and family in your hometown while you still can. You have been rushing through life, perpetually moving towards the future for 12 years — you deserve a break to stop and smell the roses you have been watering diligently for so long.
And if you take nothing else away from this list, remember this: one chapter of your life is ending and another is beginning. You will be overwhelmed with advice, overcome by emotions, and overcommitted with graduation parties, ceremonies, and events. But this is your season. You've worked for it, so enjoy it! College is an exciting new step and a fun, formative four years, so don't let the stress ruin your senior summer!