A Letter To a High School Senior, From a College Senior

Dear High School Seniors,

You've made it! You might feel like this is a peak in your life, you might feel thrilled to be moving on, or you might be sad it's over. But you're headed into a totally new chapter of your life and you should be excited. As a college senior, I'm nearing graduation and reflecting on the last four years, thinking of all the things I wish someone would've told me when I was in your shoes. The next four years are going to be wild, exhausting, amazing, scary and adventurous. You'll never have a time in your life with more opportunity and independence than you do now. So I urge you to take my advice and go have the time of your life. 

  1. 1. Being in College Does Not Make You an Adult

    Going into college, I was anticipating it to be just like high school but without the parents. At first, it was really nice not having anyone to answer to. I could skip class and no one would know, I was able to sleep late if I wanted without anyone giving me a hard time, and I could stay out as late as I wanted. I really thought I was an adult, but let’s be honest, I was just a kid without her parents around. I no longer had teachers, coaches or parents holding me accountable for my responsibilities, which in the moment was great, until I realized that being an adult meant holding myself accountable. In the end, I still had responsibilities, whether I completed them or not. Looking back, I wish I'd started to build healthy habits in the beginning. Diving head-first into the fun parts of college and being careless set me up for a rough first semester. So, if you’re headed into your freshman year soon, find a balance of work and play quickly. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

  2. 2. Don't Declare a Major in Your First Semester

    At freshman orientation, it was drilled into my head that I needed to declare a major and that registering for classes would be the most difficult, nerve-racking experience of my life. Here I am, three majors later, and I wish I hadn’t wasted the energy stressing about it so much when I was a freshman. In your first few semesters, you'll be taking science, English, math, history, and relearning all of the same stuff you learned in high school. It doesn't matter what your major is, you'll be taking these classes. So, it's not necessary to declare a major first year. It's also not mandatory that you know what you want to do right off the bat. Society tells us that we should know, but who can expect a kid whose only concern was their senior prom to figure all that out in one summer? You have time! Instead of stressing about your major, focus on getting good grades in your first year and lay the foundation for yourself to build off of when you do decide on your major. I changed my major three times and I'm still graduating on time, so don’t let anyone tell you that you’ll fall behind if you wait.

  3. 3. It's Going to Fly By, So Don't Waste Any Time

    This is a big one. If you thought high school flew by, you have no idea. Every day counts in college. So, don’t be afraid to make new friends. It's okay to let go of high school – you aren’t going to be as close with those friends now that you’ve all started living completely different lives in different places. Think twice before you go home with that boy and make sure it’s a smart decision. I'm all for a good time and there's no shame here, but just make sure that they have good intentions because sometimes the ones you think you should trust turn out to be the worst of all. Turn in that discussion on Friday night before you go out. Sure, margaritas with the girls sound way more fun, but there will be hundreds of more pre-games. Don’t take a zero on the assignment just because you have FOMO. Don’t take yourself too seriously. This is the time in your life where you can find yourself. Have fun, surround yourself with good people, get your shit done, and enjoy life.

Transitioning from high school to college isn't easy. It’s fun, exciting, and a brand-new adventure, but in four years you’ll look back and realize it flew by and I don’t want you to have regrets. Enjoy the ride, experience everything you can, and be open-minded because I promise you that your future looks different than you are picturing it now.