You're Not Ready

You're Not Ready

To the high school senior who thinks they're ready for college: think again.
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It's the end of April. You're studying for your AP exams, going to graduation practice, starting to clean out your locker, and dreaming of college during every monotonous, pointless lecture you have to listen to during your final days of senior year. Trust me, I know; I've been there. I thought I was so ready for college: the independence, the fun, and the freedom I'd experience for the next four years of my life.

It's the end of April. I'm starting to pack up my dorm room, beginning to study for my finals, and spending as much time with my friends as I can before I have to leave them for the next three months. And you know what? As I reflect on my first year of college, I'm starting to realize that I wasn't ready. At the beginning of the school year, I thought I was ready for everything freshman year had to offer. However, eight months later, I'm understanding that I was wrong. And you may think that you're different than me and that you're much more ready to get out of your hometown and go to college than I ever was, but hear me out.

You're not ready for your first night alone in your dorm. Let's face it, your roommate is going to either stay the night with a friend, shack with a boy, or go home at some point within the first few months. And no matter how brave or independent you think you are, getting in bed for the first time in your dorm room without another person six feet away from you is terrifying. Every branch hitting the window sounds like someone breaking into your room, and you begin to realize that your fear of the dark never went away. Your parents aren't down the hall or downstairs, and this was my first realization that I would actually be alone for the next eight months of my life.

You're not ready for your first time getting sick at college. Being sick at home is something I know you take for granted. But when you're lying in your lofted bed alone in your dorm room, you start to miss your mom's back scratches and homemade soup more than ever.

You're not ready for your first football game. You think you know what to expect, but trust me, you have no idea. And while you may be reading this thinking, "it's just a football game," you honestly have no idea what you're getting yourself into. From the fun tailgates to the roar of the crowd when the team runs out to the playing of your school's alma mater, this is the first time you're gonna realize just how much you love your school and how badly you never want to leave.

You're not ready for your first time back home. The worst part about coming home for the first time, whether it's for a weekend or Thanksgiving break, is that home doesn't feel like home anymore. Your living room might be painted a different color, you're completely unfamiliar with your family's new schedules, and you feel like a guest staying at home. While it's great that you're in love with your new school, it's heartbreaking to know that home doesn't exactly feel like home anymore.

You're not ready for midterms and finals. That's all I have to say about that.

You're not ready for the moment when you realize your best friends from first semester might not be your best friends after all. People change. And although you may think that the girls you hung out with 24/7 in October or the boys you played intramural soccer with will be your best friends for the rest of your college career, you might be wrong. It sucks, believe me, but it's a part of college that can't be avoided.

You're not ready for the day you look in the mirror and realize that you actually gained weight. You may think you're an invincible high school athlete who is too fit to ever gain the Freshman 15. Yeah, I thought that too. Those were the days...

You're not ready to say goodbye to your roommate. Although I haven't necessarily reached this point of my freshman year, I'm dreading it. Whether or not you adore your roommate (like I luckily do), saying goodbye is going to suck. They experience you at your best and worst and can be one of the greatest friends you make freshman year. Don't neglect that opportunity.

You're not ready to say goodbye to freshman year. I'm almost brought to tears every time I think of the day this May when I have to pull out of my campus for the last time. From the people you meet to the experiences you have, everything about freshman year is incredible, and having to leave it for three months and never come back to the full experience will probably be the hardest thing I have to go through this year. Freshman year has been the greatest year of my life, and although I've said some tough goodbyes, this one might be the hardest one yet.

So while you're sitting in your AP Calculus class dreaming of your future days at UGA, Auburn, Furman, NYU, or wherever you may go, stop and realize that the time you have at home with your friends and family is limited. College is incredible, but I can assure you that you're not as ready as you think you are.

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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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Becoming Kinder To Myself

My biggest bully is my own mind and I'm sick of being the victim.

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I've always known how important self-love is, but I've only recently realized the depths of what it means. For me, the hardest part about loving myself is the fact that I've been conditioned to hate myself. I say the meanest things in my head and constantly try to tear myself down. While I am confident in the person I am, I don't think I love myself in the way I need to.

It's 2019, and I've decided it's going to be the year of me. This year, I will fall in love with myself. I will stop thinking I am the problem. I will stop letting my worries get in my way. I am constantly motivating my friends and encouraging them to do whatever is necessary to make themselves happy.

So, why haven't I been doing that for me?

I show kindness to everyone I meet, but perhaps I am the one who needs my kindness the most. I'm never going to get what I want if I feel as though I don't deserve it. I'm never going to achieve my goals if I don't think I have the ability to do so.

I would never kick someone when they're down, so this year, I'm going to start applying that to myself. The negative thoughts will come and go, but it's time that I stop feeding them. I see myself negatively, and the only way that's going to change is if I fight it with a lot of positivity.

Self-love is more than being confident in your own skin; it's being kind to yourself and treating yourself right. I always feel like my mind controls me, but it's time to start controlling my mind. My mind is going to become a place of positivity and encouragement, and it all starts with simply replacing my thoughts that stem from hatred to thoughts that come from love.

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