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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UW Lax chapter.

When I was a senior in high school, I constantly saw articles like this on social media. I read a few, but ignored others. Today though, I feel motivated to write this article for a variety of reasons. Recently the articles circling my social media news feeds have been ones such as “An Open Letter to my Friends from High School”. Reading articles like this, along with other circumstances in my life at the moment, have made me realize my blessings. Things have changed so much, but it’s been a healthy transition into something new. I enjoy writing poetry, and before school started I decided to write something a little different in the form of a prayer. It went like this:

“Lord, make me a butterfly. Help me to metamorphosize and change in the healthiest of ways. Help me to grow; assist me in being more willing and accepting to healthy change. I trust in You and Your plan.” -Alaina Steffes

God has truly blessed me, and I feel that I should give high school seniors a bit of a sneak peak into what this next adventure in life will be like.

So, dear high school seniors:

Look around at the people in your life right now. Some of them will remain constants, and the distance separating you within the upcoming year won’t matter. Some will slip away, but this isn’t a bad thing. Maybe you will choose to join the Military, work force, or go to a Technical College or University. Whatever you decide, it will be a journey. There will be ups and downs, but have faith. I’m thankful for the mistakes I’ve made because it has helped me develop into the person I am today. You may move away from home; this may be exciting or scary, or both! These emotions towards the start of your life are normal. When you graduate, keep in contact with the people closest to you; I’ve found that the people that stood by my side during hardships in high school will always lend a helping hand even after we’ve moved apart. 

For students going to Technical College or a University, most of my advice will be for you as I’m currently attending UWL. I can imagine myself during my senior year trying to picture what dorm life is like, but nothing could truly prepare me for just how little space I have. Dorm rooms can be tiny! I wasn’t sure how much to bring and what was absolutely necessary, especially when it came to clothes. My advice would be to bring seasonal clothes; in other words, don’t bring your winter clothes the first week of school. Also, try to find DIY’s for extra space. I found lots of storage units/drawers that allowed for me to more efficiently store my belongings. If you’re like me and enjoy cute little accents in a room to make it more like home, I highly recommend looking in the Target Dollar Spot. I glanced at little trinkets throughout the year, as the contents change seasonally, and found a bit of decor that was less than five dollars an item. Christmas lights hung within the tiny space and accent pillows on a futon/chair also make the room feel more cozy.

And as for the meal plan…In high school everyone joked about the freshman fifteen (as in gaining 15 pounds). In my personal experience, it’s not difficult to eat healthy. There’s a lot of options of campus, and although we like to complain about the food selection, it’s really not too bad. So don’t be afraid of the ‘freshman fifteen’; if you want to eat dessert, go for it.

Next, try to get involved on campus! There are so many opportunities to get involved. Don’t feel like you have to sign up for everything though. It can be hard to commit to a plethora of clubs and activities, so find a few that interest you and stick with those! Getting involved is also a great way to meet people! Keep your door open in your dorm room. There are also dorm activities that are fun to participate in! I met most of my close friends through campus activities or because they live in the same building as me.

When you move away from your family, whether you’re super close to them (like me) or not, you’ll miss them. You’ll miss them a ton. So the littlest of gestures like getting dinner with them, or running errands to a store, become super special. Cherish these little moments with them, because although a new adventure is so fun and exciting, you’ll miss the people who surrounded you before the new journey began.

Try to enjoy every moment this year, no matter how small. It may sound a little cheesy, and difficult, with applications for scholarships and college and creating resumes. It can be overwhelming, but take the time to appreciate all of the people in your life. If you have a room to yourself, cherish it. I love my roommate, but we can all agree that having your own room is ideal (just ask my friend Colleen, who doesn’t have a roommate). There will be things that you miss. So cherish the moments you have right now, and look forward to the future adventures to come!

Just an English major and barista who loves to travel, hammock, and pet dogs. Psalm 46:5.