As the school year dwindles down, it’s the time of the year when high school seniors experience many “lasts.” Last sporting events, last chorus concerts, last proms. They’re having countdown to graduation celebrations, senior spirit weeks and other exciting, bittersweet days, some of which simply involve sitting in the cafeteria for the last time. I remember how nervous and excited I was, and I would say it feels like just yesterday, but the truth is, it feels like a million years ago.

As I scroll through my Facebook feed, I see my friends who are seniors in high school sharing articles about how high school will be “the best four years of your life,” and how you shouldn’t take your senior year for granted because, before you know it, it’ll be over. I remember a lot of people in my graduating class sharing these same articles a year ago, tagging their friends, begging the days to slow down, voicing their anxiety about high school ending, and while I experienced some of these feelings too, the idea that people who had graduated high school long ago considered it the best experience of their life really scared me. It made me wonder, did I do high school wrong? I couldn’t fully identify with people’s stories -- I wasn’t part of a large friend group, I didn’t attend wild high school parties, I barely went to any football games and I didn’t even go on my senior trip. People kept telling me, “You’ll regret it, don’t wish the years away,” but I couldn’t help it. I held onto the notion that there must be something better beyond high school. My parents had always told me the best four years of their lives were in college, not high school, but it seemed like barely anyone shared this opinion.

So, this article is for you -- the student who is ready for high school to be over. It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be scared, but it’s also okay to be ready to leave and feel more excited than upset. This is me telling you that after just one year of college, I can already honestly say high school will not be the best four years of my life. I’ve had more fun, and most importantly, have grown more as a person in this past year than I ever could in high school. Even though I had to leave some of my closest friends, being away from them has done nothing but bring us closer, and the fact of the matter is, people who are meant to stay in your life past high school will stay there.

Like most people who have graduated, I don’t miss gym class, waking up at 7:30 a.m., riding the bus or eating school lunches. But, unlike some people who graduated, I also don’t miss school dances or football games. I don’t even miss chorus concerts, which were my favorite part of high school, and that’s okay. It was time for me to leave and four years of these memories was more than enough.

If you’re like me and you feel like an outsider, like you missed out on something that everyone else seems to have experienced, this is me telling you not to freak out. And if you are the other person who truly did have a great high school experience, I’m happy for you, but it’s important to realize life goes on, high school ends, and you need to be able to put it behind you.

Enjoy your last few weeks. They really do go by quickly, but let yourself be excited for the future. The day I moved into college and said goodbye to my friends and family, I thought I would throw up I was so nervous, but I can’t even put into words how quickly that feeling left me.

It may sound cynical, but high school is petty and so, so small. Once you get out, you realize just how little your world was. There are so many more people to meet from all over the state, country, even the world, and if you don’t accept the fact that your high school days are over, you might miss out on opportunities. Being in high school felt like being in a bubble to me. I had no room to find myself when I desperately needed to, and the freedom I felt on graduation day is something I will never forget.

This article isn’t meant to bash the popular crowd or the people who loved high school. It’s the words I wish I had read when I was a high school senior, letting you know, if your high school experience was less than fulfilling, you aren’t alone. Life goes on, and I promise you, the best years of your life are not behind you, they haven’t even happened yet.