Graduation season is upon us, that means saying goodbye to the familiar and hello to new, exciting adventures! It is a time of balloons, caps, gowns, tassels,friendship, and cake (SO MUCH CAKE)!
Exactly a year ago I was standing in your place, I was nervous, excited, and beyond ready to be done…
As you end this chapter of your life and prepare to begin a new one, I want to share a few things with you that I really wish someone would have told me:
1. Seeing as though you are about a month or so away from graduation, I imagine you are desperate to be done.
Done with homework, books, tests, and those awful lunches. Cherish every moment of it. Now, I know you have heard that line so many times you could recite it backwards, but I am telling you it is WORTH listening to. Take mental snap shots of weird things like the colors of the hallway floors and appreciate the simplicity of being able to walk to your best friends house, because I promise you there will come a day in the year ahead of you that you would give anything to go back to that, even if just for a moment.
2. At your graduation party you will get gifts.
Lots of them, and probably more money than you expected. You will be tempted to use some of that money, promising yourself you will pay it back later or only use a small amount. I will tell you that temptation is a fast slope from “I AM RICH!!!” to “…Crap, I’m broke.”. My advice to you is this; take 5-10% of they money you received and use it to celebrate the great accomplishment that is finishing high school. Set aside a reasonable amount to use for purchasing the things you will need for college, perhaps a lap top or books (those suckers are EXPENSIVE!), then put the rest in in a savings account and do not touch it until at least fall break! When that time comes you will know exactly why I suggest that last part, and you can thank me then. *Hint: it may involve midnight taco/donut runs that might just save you from a severe breakdown.
3. There will be times, probably many of them, that you think you are not good enough to be where you are.
Whether you pursue a college degree or go straight into the workforce you will have moments as you lay in your bed overwhelmed with how far behind you are in a class or how you are going to meet the deadline for a project and think “I do not belong here”. I want to tell you right now that is wrong. You are good enough and if you were not the university or place of employment you are at would not have accepted you. You will also often be under the impression that everyone around you has it all together, and for whatever reason you just can’t get it together. I’ll tell you a secret: they don’t. It may seem like they do, but regardless of how much more time they spend in the library they are struggling too. Talk about it, it’ll help.
4. In relation to the above information, I want to clarify that there is a major difference between not being good enough for a place and not being in the right place for you.
You may find yourself a semester in realizing the school you chose isn’t fulfilling your needs, maybe your major changed or you just realized your learning style doesn’t quite mesh with that of the school you are at, regardless of the reason it is more than OK to change schools or place of employment, or to take a short break altogether. You only have one life on this earth and to waste any bit of time at a place you don’t feel you belong at for any reason is unnecessary and silly.
5. Self care is vital.
The change of being in a new environment under new stresses can be incredibly hard and that is not made any easier by impending finals or hefty amounts of homework; while those things are important, it is also important that you take time to care for yourself. Whether that means skipping class for a day or going home for a weekend to be with family, the time to do it.
6. As you meet new people and learn new things you will find yourself asking questions you didn’t know you could ask.
You might find yourself doubting your faith or questioning your perspective on any given issue; let those things happen and keep asking questions. These things are normal and a beautiful, complex part of the adventure you are on. They will mold you as you grow into your adult years.
7. You are good and you are worthy.
Absolutely nothing (and I mean nothing) can or will change that.
8. The coming months will be ones filled with new experiences and bittersweet goodbyes.
With that you will experience a whole range of emotions, know that all of those emotions are totally valid. Sometimes you won’t even understand why or what you are feeling and that is very ok. Ask for help when you need it and take time to process the chapter you are living into.
This time is an exciting one, but it can also be quite scary! Have fun, take your time and don’t rush as you embark on the messy, wonderful journey before you.