If you're anything like me, you loved high school. I know we might be the minority, but leaving high school was incredibly challenging for me. I had the same group of friends since I was a toddler, I was well-liked by my teachers and peers, and my parents weren't terribly strict so it's not like I was living under a rock. I loved every second of it.
I was a little nervous for college (or a lot nervous). But here's how I learned to embrace college and have the absolute best time of my life:
1. Join a club!
In high school it's in your best interest to get involved with as many extra curricula's as possible. It looks good on your college applications and it's the best way to make friends with people who have similar interests. GUYS! It's the same thing in college except you've already been accepted to college so you're doing it for yourself now. It's awesome.
Admittedly, I was kind of burnt out after High School, so I didn't make a great effort to get involved when I started school (also, parties.. so many parties). As someone who was class secretary, the lead in the Spring musical, a lettered field hockey starter and someone who craves diversity, by Spring semester my heart was aching. There was a musical that I wasn't going to be in? I could have a voice on campus? I could form my own field hockey club if I so desired? And I was choosing not to take advantage of these opportunities? That's so not my style.
Sure, I made some of the best friends I've ever had that semester, but something was missing. Part of me yearned to be near other theater geeks, to surround myself with people who appreciated my niche interests and wouldn't tease me for being different.
Long-story-short, I started participating in theater productions, got involved with student government, and found someone to hit the field hockey ball with. I also joined some clubs that didn't even exist in high school! Getting involved and becoming a part of the community ended up being the best thing I could have done for myself.
2. Make your dorm someplace you want to be
One of the most exciting things about college is that you finally get some of freedom! Sure, you probably have a roommate, but you're free from your parents and their rules and have a place to call your very own. With all of the stress that comes with leaving high school behind, making plans for the perfect dorm room or apartment is a great way to get excited for your new life away from home.
At home your bedroom is likely still full of precious treasures from your childhood. Creating your dorm space is like having a fresh canvas! You're about to reinvent yourself whether you like it or not; such is life. Planning the space you're going to be living in all year should be a great reflection of who you are and what you like. You should be excited to come home to your dorm at the end of a long day.
3. Let it go
I think it's really important to keep yourself in check during your college years and make sure you're finding the right balance. I know you're probably tired of everyone telling you "this is going to be the most amazing time of your life!" but honestly, these people are on to something.
It's super important not to try to re-create your high school experience exactly and be open to unique things your college has to offer. I joined the Gaelic Society, for instance. I got to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade down 5th Ave! This isn't anything I would have been able to imagine doing in high school! I was able to embrace this new chapter in my life. High School will always hold a special place in my heart, it marked the end of my adolescence and the beginning of a very eventful adulthood.
It's important to realize that this is just another chapter of your life. The future holds so many life-changing experiences that i'll impact you in more ways than you'll ever imagine. Keep a positive mindset.
If I can do it, you can do it, and just know that I'm over here rooting you on!