High school graduation can mean a lot of different things to someone, depending on their experience and what they have planned for afterwards. To those who attend college right after completing high school, this is probably what high school graduation means to you:
The concluding statement to one’s true adolescence, and the welcoming handshake from the real world.
But none of that is really important at that moment, if you ask me. It’s everything that came before graduation. The physical and mental shifts you and your peers went through while battling unkind professors and bland cafeteria food; perhaps your first love, your first heart-break, those amazing friendships that saved you along the way, and even those glaring faces that gave you strength and character. To remember it all, you are awarded a piece of paper, and an awfully over-saturated picture taken by a stranger as you are handed the diploma. As you sit for the last time in the crowed arena, surrounded by the people who have been by your side (literally) for the past four years of life, your mind is suddenly attempting not to flip.
The rush of emotions vary from “thank goodness I’m getting the hell out of here” to “wow…where did the time go by?” And my favorite, “I wonder if any of the people I call my friends today will be walking with me a year from now.”
With all that being said, my fellow readers, I have five things you should know on making the transition from high school to college.
1. Often times, your “squad” will break off.
It may be that your friendship was bumpy from the start, and the only thing holding it together was forcefully seeing their faces 5 times a week. Or it may be the simple fact that you and your squad are all attending different schools. What ever the case may be, it’s important to know that college is the place where people begin to show their true colors, and maybe the friends you once had don’t share your common interests any longer. Nevertheless, keep in mind that these people who once meant so much to you are also freaking out about their new lives. So, put your pride aside for a second and reach out to them; after all, distance makes the heart grow fonder.
2. You will begin to miss all those annoying things your family used to do.
Living on your own, whether in a dorm hall with a roommate or in your own apartment, has never seen more exciting…until you realize how much you depended on your family back at home. Whether it’s because you’re living off Ramen noodles and hot pockets and you dearly miss your mom’s “surprise” casseroles. Or because you caught that terrible flu and nobody’s there to bring you medicine or make you hot tea…you will learn to appreciate your loved ones and where you come from. Like they say, there’s no place like home.
3. For those pet owners…prepare for the water-works
They may have been annoying and woke you up endless times in the middle of the night barking, or perhaps they’ve left a “surprise” in your room when you weren’t home, and maybe they even ruined your favorite shoes. But aside from it all, college means leaving home and saying goodbye to your four-legged, furry best friend. It won’t hit you till you see a herd of ten pups running around the campus park, and that’s when you realize how significant the company of your pet has been. If you’re missing your pooch that much, ask yourself if you can handle the responsibilities of owning a pet in college…but first, make sure they’re allowed where you’re staying!
4. If it wasn’t already clear enough, THIS ISN’T HIGH SCHOOL ANYMORE
Ladies: Nobody cares that what you’re wearing to class is the same thing you’ve worn for the past 2 classes. No one cares if you’re wearing makeup or not, or if your backpack is Henri Bendel or purchased on Ebay. Reserve the glam for the weekends and nights out, and focus on school during the day. Also, have fun and make smart choices when it comes to guys. You are all “fresh meat,” making you an easy target to the upperclassmen.
Gents: When it comes to the ladies…it’s not a numbers game. BRACE YOURSELVES. You have 4 years in college, make the best of it and get involved in IM’s, greek life, clubs, student government, etc. Also, get off your high horse and be yourself! Upperclassmen can spot a male freshman from miles away, just by the fact that they will try to get with anyone that has a pulse, and have no idea how to take rejection subtly.
5. Greek Life Isn’t Everything
We have all been fantasizing over attending our dream school and having the best social experience possible. With that being said, many of you think that adding Greek life is part of that equation. Although some schools are bigger on Greek Life than others, it doesn’t mean it may be what’s right for you. With that being said, I believe it’s best to wait and see how life is like without it (perhaps a semester, or two) and if not, rush!
However, if your house of preference does not choose you, don’t be discouraged! Ultimately, you will be accepted into a house that is the perfect fit, for the both of you!
With all this being said, go make the best of your freshman year, live and learn, and always remember where you came from and why you are where you are today!