by Bethany Schilling
Dear 2017 High School Graduates,
About a year ago, I was in your shoes. Well, actually, I was in my sister’s golden pumps (which I do not recommend walking across the stage in), but that’s beside the point.
I can imagine that some of you are anxious to move on and won’t give your high school years a second glance after leaving. And I can imagine that for some of you, the thought of leaving behind friends and teachers gives you a lump in your throat.
Everybody’s experience is different, and this holds true for what comes after graduation as well. I’m not sure what kind of college you’ll be attending, and I’m hardly an expert as I’ve only been here for one year.
Nevertheless, here are eight things I’ve learned since graduating that might come in handy for your first year of college.
From one freshman to another.
1. People aren’t as cliquey as they sometimes are in high school.
You’re not always going to be best friends with everyone, but you can learn a lot from talking to people you wouldn’t normally see yourself being friends with. Embrace diversity, stay open minded, and say hello to whoever you want. 🙂
2. Don’t worry about becoming a different person.
You may not necessarily change who you are—but lots of your life circumstances are going to be new: It’ll be your first time away from home, you might get involved in new groups, you’ll be surrounded by new people. Chances are, you’ll find yourself changing.
3. It’s okay to stay in touch with your friends and family back home.
Not everyone gets home sick, but if you do, it’s okay. Being on your own allows for a lot of growth and opportunity, but there’s no shame in calling your parents or texting your old friends for no reason. They still know you and love you, and if a relationship is important to you, it’s good to make the effort to stay in touch. 🙂
4. You might do some stupid things.
Admit your mistakes, forgive easily, and always keep moving forward.
5. Time management is key.
Sometimes, good memories are worth the sleepless nights. At the same time, staying up til 4 a.m. because you procrastinated on a paper will not give you the same satisfaction as staying up til 4 a.m. because you and some friends went on a spontaneous adventure.
6. You’ll be going from the top back to the bottom….but it’s okay.
When I did something stupid at the beginning of the year, I used to say, “I’m so sorry, my freshman is showing…”
The truth is, freshmen get a bad rap. And mostly for valid reasons. Everyone’s been there, though, and you’ll hopefully find that the upperclassmen are super awesome and not actually as judgmental as you may be worried about (or am I the only one who worried about that)?
7. There will be days when your life is a mess. This is also okay.
As with all stages of life, your first year of college is going to have a lot of ups and downs. You might change your degree path, there might be a crisis back at home, you might run into some friendship drama. But I promise you, you will not face any of it alone.
8. Awkward things are less awkward if you own them.
College is a lot of fun, and you learn a lot.
Be kind, be confident, be you. And you’ll be just fine.