Why The Embark Back to School is So Daunting

Leaving your last high school summer behind is bittersweet: sleeping in your own bed with the perfect amount of pillows for the last time, bye-bye bonfires and final walks with your dog under trees you won't get to see change colors. However, it is definite and there is an excess of closure. Those final weeks feel like an ending, a clearly outlined finale to your high school experience written by lingering in long, late-night driveways not wanting to leave and late nights in your childhood garage packing items that have yet to feel like a part of you. The transition is smooth from high school home to college because they are so contrasting. 

However, going back to college is entirely different. It begins with an early start as most leases on homes and apartments start even before classes. You have to decide if it is better to continue working and miss part of the time you paid for in this new apartment, or move in early and get your money's worth. This mushy arrival to your university feels unsettling compared to the one massive move-in monster of a day from freshmen year that had a set date and there was time to properly prepare yourself. It is much easier to put off something when you're unsure of what precisely it is.

Moreover, due to this iffy move-in date decision, all of your friends (or potential friends) are also moving in at varying times. The people in one's college experience are what largely defines it. When you think back on college, you don't think about that awesome organic chemistry exam you took on February 18th, or the long lecture on elementary physics that got you excited about your major! You think about that night that girl across the hall knocked on your door at one a.m. because she couldn't get the shower to turn on and then you stayed up until seven a.m. watching "Stranger Things" because she had yet to see it. You think about the blurred together Friday's at Chili's and can't quite remember when they began or ended. So, being that not everyone moves in at the same time, your own definition of college is not fully present as the new semester arries. All of these intangible factors harden together like a grape sucker, clouding it with uncertainty... and uncertainty can taste rather disgusting when you suck on it for too long. 

Going back to school seems more certain, at least when returning to a place you have been before. However, it is still overflowing with doubt. This year, I am challenging myself to look at this full mug of the unknown as possibilities rather than improbabilities. May you also carry the cup you have been served this year with grace and savor its taste.  


How to do that? Text first. Just do it. Try something new every week. Don't be yanked into a mindless routine. Love your friends and make new ones. They, after all, are largely what will define your school experience.  Write letters home. When facing new terrains, fall back on what (and who) you already know and get off your phone. Stop letting it act as your grown-up baby blanket. 


Photo Credits: Pexels, Bill Pope, Rebecca Tuite