What I Wish I Knew During My Last Summer Before College

This time last year I was a mess.  I was a senior in high school about to graduate in two weeks.  The impending to-do list of what I had to get done before I went off to college in the fall was stressing me out to no end, not to mention what I had to get done before I walked across that stage and received my high school diploma.  I remember having so many expectations for what my first year of college would be like, and that halted me from having one last carefree, listless summer. Looking back, I realize that I had a completely different experience than I could’ve ever imagined, and it was not worth all the stress.  

 

Last summer, I was consumed by the many ideas I had about what I would do as a freshman in college.  I remember being so scared about making friends, knowing what I wanted to study, and fitting in overall.  Trying to prepare for this drastic change caused my anxiety to take over the entire summer. This giant fear of change stopped me from focusing on what was most important in that moment--my last summer after high school. 

Of course, I still made a huge effort to hang out with my friends as much as possible.  Every moment together felt like a celebration of our long-lasting friendships--some from as early as pre-school.  We created a summer full of amazing memories that I will cherish forever! However, I feel as though I was desperately clinging to the friends I had out of fear of not making similar relationships in college.  Thus, making it hard for me to move on once I moved away from home.

The first few months of college were challenging.  I was feeling exactly what I was afraid of feeling: alone.  I had created such high expectations of my new friend group that I didn’t allow for many people to come into my life.  I so desperately wanted to relive my summer with all my friends that I forgot why I wanted to go to college in the first place--to meet new people!

It took time, but I finally allowed myself to let people in and make some amazing friendships in college.  Now, I’m approaching the end of my freshman year and am so happy with how things turned out. I experienced such a different year than I ever expected, and I wish I could’ve told my seventeen-year-old self that she didn’t have to worry so much!  That there was nothing she could do to prepare for her first year of college. All she needed to do was enjoy her last summer before moving away from home and try not to have any expectations about the future.

 

It’s normal to worry about the future and cope by creating scenarios of how everything will turn out.  College is a totally foreign experience that can be extremely intimidating for some. It’s important to remember that everyone takes time to adjust, so you just need to let life figure itself out and until the time comes to start that next chapter, live it up with your friends in your hometown and make those memories last!