I find it ironic how I’m writing an article giving advice to others when I am the one in need of advice. I am about to move away to college, and start doing my own laundry. That thought alone terrifies me. However, this advice column is for those who have graduated high school and are about to pursue the next big thing of their life.
I knew that once you left high school that nothing would be the same. But man, I never realized that nothing would be the same. The first week of summer was filled with graduation parties; a.k.a., a wild chaotic series of congratulations, free food, too much cake, hellos, goodbyes, and good lucks. It was not until a month later that it hit me; I am not in high school anymore. I am in college. And there is no going back. And nothing and no one will ever be the same again.
There is nothing to do to prepare for that shock. You spend all four years of high school anxiously waiting for the day you receive your high school diploma, and it never fully gets in your head until later; after you have graduated. Weird as it seems, it is true. And if that is not enough, after you accept that, you find yourself looking into the future, whether it is college, or a job, or serving your country.
Before you begin freaking out, let me shine a bit of light on your widened eyes, so be prepared to wince. Always keep in mind that everyone is going the same thing you are. They will experience the utter shock of graduating and the freaking out process of going onto that next step. So just relax and go with it. Everything will work out just fine. I promise.
Now, you have got to be thinking, “Oh man, I have to explain to more people about my hearing loss. I should just get a recorder and have it play my explanation whenever I need to.” While the recorder is not too shabby of a thought, people might get the wrong idea and you may not want that. Hard of hearing myself, I find I’m self-conscious around new people and new environments. You never know who is going to have a shaggy beard (it is a lip-reading thing, okay?) or bad teeth or be one of those people who thinks that they need to talk loud and slow just so that you understand them. (It helps to just smile and calmly tell them that they do not need to talk that slowly or loudly.) Regardless of who you come across, you need to keep in mind that life is about the connections you make with the people you meet. Learn something from that person, and teach that person something about you. Tell them your life story. And let them tell you theirs. Become inspired.
Moreover, I would like to touch on one more topic: friends. Let’s face it. You love your friends. You and your friends have been through the best of times and the worst of times. And now it is time to go your separate ways. As those days become shorter, the friendship generally takes one of two roads. One road is the better, preferred road, in which you and your friends become closer than ever before. And you leave for your different ways with an understanding that when you reunite, the friendship will pick up right where you left it. The other road is more difficult. It is the one where anger, jealousy, and fear get in the way of staying close to your friends. Those unfortunate feelings get in the way of friendship, and can make or break it. These roads can meet more than once, and can even go in full circles.
Most importantly, however, you must try your hardest to show your friends how much they mean to you. You do not want to live life with regrets, so share everything now while you can.
As I prepare to pack the mountain of clothes into suitcases for college, I find myself valuing my parents more and more. They have watched me grow and prosper. They have seen me at the ultimate high and the epitome of low. And now their little child is going to college. I’m a big kid now. When your parents are getting on your last nerve–just remember–you are going to miss that homemade cooking when you are on your own. And most of all, you are going to miss not having your parents around. So spend time with them, and thank them for helping you get to where you are now.
Above all, remember to have a blast. In the words of Natasha Bedingfield, “today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten.” Go on and write. ~